City store seals alcohol in bags


PURCHASERS OF takeaway alcohol in Dublin’s Temple Bar could be forgiven for thinking they’re in Dublin airport following the introduction of an alcohol-bagging pilot scheme.

Local store Centra has begun sealing containers of alcohol in bags when selling drink to customers, on a three-month trial basis. The reason for the Garda-supported initiative is to discourage illegal drinking in public areas.

Just like in the duty-free, in-store posters warn customers that if they open the bags and attempt to drink the contents before they get home, the alcohol may be confiscated.

Offenders could face on-the-spot fines from gardaí or could be prosecuted in the District Court under Dublin City Council bylaws.

Temple Bar had developed a reputation for rowdy, on-street drinking, but in recent years this had abated somewhat, partly due to the work of the Traders in the Area Supporting the Cultural Quarter (Tascq) body.

Insp Patrick McMenamin, of Pearse Street Garda station, welcomed the initiative. “An Garda Síochána supports all positive initiatives that would lead to a more mature approach to alcohol consumption and a safer community for all,” he said.

“Simple initiatives like placing all alcohol purchased in stores in the area in sealed bags can only continue to enhance the image of Temple Bar among Dubliners and all visitors to the area.”

Enda Martyn, owner of the store, said he was delighted to be introducing the sealable bags.

“It is important that we play our part in building the area’s growing reputation, and placing all alcohol purchased in our store in sealed bags is one way in which Centra can play its part,” he said.

Martin Harte, Tascq director, called on similar city centre retailers to follow the store’s example.

The Law

Street drinking has been addressed in the Intoxicating Liquor Act which came into force in July last year.

The Act, while not specifically banning street drinking, allows gardaí to seize alcohol from teenagers, who are suspected of being under 18, if they are drinking on the streets.

An Garda Síochána will also be permitted to seize bottles or containers containing alcohol where there is a reasonable apprehension of public disorder or damage to property, and to require a person to leave the place concerned in a peaceable and orderly manner.

Dublin City Council made drinking in a public place illegal last year under bylaws it can exercise through the 2001 Local Government Act.

That change came into place in September. However, they do not apply to outside areas owned by pubs, clubs and hotels.