Friday, July 27, 2007

Would you ever Puck off?

I read this piece (more below) in the Irish Times last week and wondered if the Supt might not be right and perhaps the 3am closing time for the 3 nights of Puck should be revisited. Yeah revisited and returned to the original format by which there was not closing of the pubs in Killorglin at all for 3 whole days!

Anne Lucey in Cahersiveen

An attempt by gardaí to have the traditional 3am pub hours extension for Puck Fair in Killorglin reduced by one hour was refused by Cahersiveen District Court yesterday.

The court was told it took "a considerable" Garda presence in Killorglin to prevent drink-related, late-night public order incidents during the fair.

Supt Michael O'Donovan said he was objecting to the traditional application by vintners for exemption orders to 3am. He said the 3am opening was unique to Puck Fair, was in place for 31 years and it was time to look at it. His application was to reduce it by an hour in line with other fairs and festivals in the county and in the country. The judge refused the application.

Street entertainment finished at 11pm during Puck Fair, the superintendent said. "Nothing beyond that time other than to consume alcohol takes place. There should be something other than the consumption of alcohol, particularly in the current climate. Consuming alcohol between 11pm and 3am without entertainment surely has to be looked at," he argued.

12 gardaí and two sergeants were drafted into Killorglin from outside the district to work at night, alongside the Cahersiveen district gardaí, he told Judge James O'Connor.

Domestic violence incidents also arose during the fair. The application for a series of exemptions, including early morning openings, was made by Killorglin publican Paul Kingston on behalf of some 22 publicans in Cromane and Killorglin.

Solicitor for the vintners, Tim O'Shea, said music sessions took place in most pubs. Extra policing was required not because of any alcohol problem but because of the sheer numbers of people in the town.

Declan Mangan, chairman of Puck Fair, told the court the fair was an excellent well run festival, worth up to €10 million to Killorglin, Killarney and mid-Kerry.

"Drink is only part of the festival," Mr Mangan said.

Publican Declan Falvey said a substantial number of pubs depended on the festival for vital income. Up to 400 extra people were employed by publicans because of the fair.

Judge O'Connor said no statistics had been produced to the court by gardaí. He himself had been to the fair "once or twice" for the whole of the three days. Last year walking the street at about 2.30am "I saw no thuggery", the judge said.

The State was benefiting from the revenue from drinks sales and taxes from the extra employment. It would not be fair to deprive pubs of a "vital hour".

It was totally wrong to say there was no entertainment.People made their own and this including "belting out" songs such as Barr na Sráide, the judge remarked.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thanks to everyone

I'm immensely gratified that nearly 400 people gave me a vote, the vast majority of whom I have never had the chance to meet. I really appreciate it. The fight goes on, but I think I will take a bit of break from the politicking for a while.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

All over bar the shouting

and God knows there will be plenty enough of that.

I would like to thank everyone that voted for me, and those who couldn't vote but who were hugely helpful throughout the process. It has been a long old road since last September but it hasn't been that lonely a journey.

I got some opportunities to raise the issue of the residential charges in the public consciousness and while it may not yet have borne fruit it is something I will persist with. The money been collected is neither needed nor does the logic of applying it to the disabled as if they were the same as the elderly hold up.

I do feel I've been successful to a degree because the issue of extending the franchise has been something that most candidates haven't felt they could ignore. Now that is by no means solely down to my presence in the race (guess I'm showing my main failing as a politician by not claiming complete credit for something I had a mostly tangential involvement with) but even if my being around was responsible for just one or two extra nudges in the right direction then I say it was worthwhile having someone impacted by the ongoing failure to act on this issue in the race.

As to the possible results well, at this stage it ranges from very hard to nigh on impossible to say what the likely outcome might be. We could yet be surprised that the presence of so many entrants will mean a great deal of the valid poll will have just voted their top 2/3 and left it at that. Or maybe that the vote will be incredibly evenly scattered amongst the various candidates or perhaps that the incumbents are abandoned by their electorate and 3 completely new people are installed. I reckon at the absolute limit we might get two new members of the Seanad from the NUI panel but much more likely is that the status quo will remain the same. A pity after all the huffing and puffing from all the little piggies but I guess in this case the 3 little pigs have houses built of the same material - ongoing national press coverage.

I'll have to give Naoise a shout at some point during the day to find out about when it is considered prudent and polite to ask for a recount. After all, his experience in the 2004 battle for Clontarf has to be worth something.

Again, a big thank you to everyone that voted for me, those who just considered it and those for whom the idea of voting for me gave them nightmares. Remember, I could be back.