Waterford’s nightclubs and bars have come together to ban “persistent troublemakers” from their premises during the busy Christmas and new year period in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour in the city at night.
The measure, termed CitySafe, will see enhanced communication between around a dozen of the city’s night spots so that those who engage in anti-social behaviour face being banned from all participating clubs and bars.
The plan is focusing on dealing with unwanted behaviour in the John St, Parnell St and Manor St areas currently, but is intended to be widened across the city in the new year.
Ross Cahill oversees a 20-strong team providing security to bars located at the corners of John St, Parnell St and Manor St in the city.
The current period will see some of the busiest nights of the year for Mr Cahill and his team. At venue doorsteps, serious issues crop up among some patrons “every weekend”, ranging from addiction issues to family problems and personal trauma.
‘Being very aggressive’
"I've been a doorman for 20 years and I have seen how one 'bad' person can ruin the night for 20 people. It can be one person, being very aggressive, making people uncomfortable and spoiling their night," says Mr Cahill, security manager of the Causeway Group, which covers five busy venues in the city.
“It can be because of a substance or too much drink or something else going on with that person in their life. But once it happens – that person needs to go home.”
The first step in the plan, according to Mr Cahill, is to improve co-ordination and communication between the bars.
While CitySafe has started in the venues around Apple Market and along John St, the goal is to eventually bring all city centre pubs and hotels into the scheme.
Under the plan, if someone is banned from one venue, “they are then barred from all”, Mr Cahill says.
A decision to ban someone in this way would be taken by the CitySafe committee, which Mr Cahill chairs.
If the committee decides to bar someone, the alleged troublemaker will be informed the next time they seek entry to one of the venues. If they’re unhappy with the decision, they can appeal, and speak to Mr Cahill about the decision.
“I do think part of it is just making people aware of their behaviour,” he says.
A decision to bar someone will not be taken lightly, he says, particularly since some patrons have a perception that certain doormen refuse entry to revellers due to a personal dislike of them, or because “they’re a member of a minority group”.
“There is a truth to that,” he continues. “We’ve got to be very careful that this isn’t manipulated [by a doorman] to punish a person.”
He said anti-social behaviour can increase at this time of year. “Everybody looks back on the year they’ve had and it spins out from there.”