Vintners Federation highlights CCTV benefits


The largest representative body of the country’s publicans, the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), today urged their members to install closed circuit TV cameras (CCTV), to ensure a safer environment for customers and staff.

Speaking in Limerick on the first day of the federation’s annual conference, Mr Tadg O'Sullivan, VFI chief executive, said CCTVs would assist in the policing of underage drinking, reduce the escalating number of incidents of travellers abusing the Equal Status legislation, and help curb increasing insurance costs.

Mr O'Sullivan said that publicans were concerned about public order offences, with a 97 per cent increase in such incidents between 1996 and 2000.

"The use of CCTV would show the lengths that liquor license holders take to ensure they do not serve those under the legal age. If there are any disputes on someone's age thereafter, the publican would have the video footage as strong evidence to back up their case," he said.

The Federation also view the use of CCTV as a means of providing evidence of bogus compensation claims.

"While only a small percentage of people are involved in disruptive or threatening behaviour, the use of cameras could help curb these events from happening. People would be more reluctant to be disorderly if they know they are being taped, and that it may later be used against them in court.

"The reduction of these incidents will be beneficial for customers as a whole as it will allow people enjoy a quiet drink and reduce the thug element," said Mr O’Sullivan.

He added that it would also be beneficial to install a camera outside the premises so that any trouble on the streets would be recorded and possibly assist the Gardaí in subsequent investigations and in court.

The VFI today also called for the introduction of mandatory ID cards as "the only workable solution to curb underage drinking".

The Federation pointed out that such a system already exists in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Speaking on this issue, VFI President Richard Dunne said that: "Identity cards are not popular among Irish people, but publicans need some assistance on this issue. If a young person presents himself or herself at a bar requesting a drink and claiming to be 18 years or over, the publican must make an instant judgement.

"As we have seen on the television, regarding the pop group Six, the 16-year-old girl from Derry was able to fool the whole country that she was 18 years or older.

Surely if the entire country couldn't tell her age by her appearance, it would be next to impossible for publicans to do the same in the absence of any proof of age," said Mr Dunne.