We need to beef up the Garda presence on the streets if we are to extend bar and nightclub opening hours, according to a Trinity sociologist.
Prof Evelyn Mahon was speaking after a series of high-profile incidents around the country, including the death of a young Limerick man in an assault outside a Kildare pub.
Meanwhile, an attack on a tourist by a group of youths in Temple Bar left him in danger of losing an eye.
New later opening hours are expected in the autumn with the new Sale of Alcohol Bill due to go before Cabinet next month.
Professor Mahon said plans to extended hours will need more Gardaí.
“I do think we need to take the policing, social order and the drinking laws all together,” she said.
“I think the police are very reluctant to get involved in what are really often called kind of civil cases, like an ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) or if you are complaining about someone harassing you, they don’t want to know about that.
“If they’re not bothered to look at for instance the safety of people on public transport or in towns and cities. If they don’t think that is part of their remit well maybe, we have to look at some other groups to do it if you have bars open [later].”
She said community policing used to be at the heart of what Gardaí did, but suggested it has now “vanished completely”.
“I really do think there needs to be a very concerted effort to look at those kinds of civic responsibilities of policing to actually protect people,” she said.
“They do work as a deterrent and certainly in most cities in Europe where you have late-night cultures and drinking you have a very active police presence on the streets.”
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