A group of men from Cork wore Hitler masks and verbally abused customers at a pub in the centre of Prague while on a stag party trip last weekend, the Irish owner of a pub has said.
Frank Haughton, who owns Caffrey's Irish Bar in the old town square in the Czech capital said about 25 men were part of the group who "rather misbehaved". They also slapped female waiting staff on their backsides and spoke about "fairly deviant" sex acts, he said.
“While it’s not appropriate to wear Hitler masks anyway probably it was somewhat insensitive to wear them so close to the Jewish quarter in Prague,” Mr Haughton said.
In a letter to a newspaper published today, the bar owner said he had witnessed only two stag parties in the "truly repulsive" category and that both of them had come from Ireland.
He told RTÉ’s John Murray show that the men involved in last weekend’s incident were asked by other customers who were sitting in the outdoor seating area to remove the masks and “the insensitivity was pointed out to them”.
“The abusive language that they returned to some customers, including some quite elderly customers, was truly not the kind of stuff you want to hear on the airwaves,” Mr Haughton said.
He said the group was “really, really offensive” to one elderly couple who tried to get the men to desist from wearing the masks.
People on stag parties often had a “theme”, he said. Some would dress “quite normal”, but others would come dressed as babies or dressed as women.
“But these guys, their identifying symbol was the Hitler mask.”
There were other incidents involving the group where they slapped the bottoms of female waiting staff and tried to grab them.
“Eventually, we just stopped serving them and asked them to leave.”
Mr Haughton said the language from the group was “fairly red”. Some were “rather more vociferous than others”.
“They eventually left with some protest, let’s put it that way.”
The bar owner, who is also the proprietor of the James Joyce pub in the city, said the “sad bit” was that the men ranged in age from perhaps 30 up to 55 or older.
“There were men among these people who should have known better and who should have pulled the slightly younger guys into line.”
Mr Haughton said the overall behaviour of the men showed “such a bad image of Ireland and it shows such a bad image of any group”.
Normally, the pub would see very little trouble from stag parties.
Some of them might get noisy, but generally the pub had a good relationship with them.
“We get to know the leader and we build a relationship with them that stops things getting out of control, but with these guys it just wasn’t possible.”
Mr Haughton, who has been in Prague for 23 years said the group was “very much the exception rather than the rule”.
“It’s a shame when it’s the Irish group that tops the pile in being without doubt the worst group I’ve ever seen.”
He said his staff had been very upset and he believed such men “know how out of order they are in the back of their own minds”.
“They simply wouldn’t be tolerated in a Czech bar.”
“They head for the Irish bars thinking they will get some Irish sympathy there, that Paddy will welcome Paddy.”
Mr Haughton said he had written a letter to a newspaper in the hope that family members of the men might identify them and let them know what they thought of their behaviour and how they had “let themselves down, their families down and Ireland down”.
“I would ask them to take a good look at themselves and to consider their behaviour if they ever travel abroad again.”
Mr Haughton said the experience made him “more cautious” and he would now engage security staff on the door of the pub after last weekend’s experience.