Gardaí 'overwhelmed' by Arthur's Day crowds
GARDAÍ HAVE said they were “overwhelmed” by the large crowds that turned out in Dublin to celebrate Arthur’s Day on Thursday night, the event held by drinks company Diageo to promote their Guinness product.
Senior Garda sources in the city said while they expected crowds to be smaller in the belief that the novelty of the event had passed, numbers far surpassed anything seen in the past two years.
“We had drafted in extra people to deal with it, of course, but the crowds were much, much bigger than expected,” said one source.
A doubling of theft related offences – including pickpockets targeting drunken revellers – was reported in parts of the city.
Sources said while there were no “headline-grabbing” serious incidents there were more arrests than normal, mostly for theft and drink-related public order issues.
There was a 30 per cent increase in emergency ambulance calls in Dublin city centre on Thursday night, according to Dublin Fire Brigade.
Some Garda stations outside Dublin also reported being very busy dealing with public order issues on Thursday.
Gardaí in Galway city said they were “very busy” dealing with public order issues on Thursday, while gardaí in Cork city said it was busier than usual with large crowds outside pubs.
Staff at the Mercy University Hospital in Cork said they had to contact gardaí on a number of occasions due to the levels of drunkenness, violence and antisocial behaviour among some patients. The number of admissions was “more than twice the usual”, a hospital source said. “We needed 17 ambulance trips, and at least 39 drink-related cases were admitted between 7pm and 8am.”
But a spokeswoman for Galway University Hospital said activity in the emergency department was “nothing out of the ordinary” with volumes “lower than normal”. A spokeswoman for Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown in Dublin said there were no alcohol-related admissions in the emergency department on Thursday night.
Cork Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer, chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children, called on State agencies to reconsider their promotion of Arthur’s Day. “I was very disturbed at this event being held and I have difficulty with the naked marketing of it,” he said.
In a statement, Diageo said: “We promote responsible drinking and discourage alcohol misuse year-round through our support of drinkaware.ieand other resources for consumers. We are also in regular dialogue with publicans and venue managers.
“As a consequence of these efforts, the overwhelming majority of consumers in Dublin and nationwide behaved responsibly throughout Arthur’s Day.”