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Gardaí don’t have resources to waste on Spanish Arch public drinking fines

On warm, sunny days, which we don’t see all that often, a few drinks in the Spanish Arch is the natural plan of action for many of us in the city.

A new on-the-spot €100 which was introduced last year threatened this, accompanied by increased checks by the Gardaí on people drinking in public.

Well this could all die down with gardaí saying that they might have to decrease the amount of checks carried out.

Galway’s Garda Chief said this week that the sustaining increased checks for public drinking in the Spanish Arch is under threat due to a lack of resources.

A lack of resources is a serious concern for the public, and should be addressed.

But the Garda Cheif did not mention the fact that disturbing peaceful drinkers on sunny days is in fact a waste of dwindling resources.

If an Garda Síochána are feeling the strain after years of cuts, then it seems bizarre that they would want to continue to throw away tax-payer’s money on tackling such ‘crimes’.

Speaking to a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Chief Superintendent Tom Curley of the Galway Garda Division said that he was unsure if the current increase in patrols was sustainable.

Since a clampdown on ‘bushing’ in the Spanish Arch began this season, gardaí have issued 60 fines – with those caught enjoying a can in the sun slapped on the wrist and given an unfair €100 fine.

However, Chief Supt Curley also said that an astonishing €15,000 has been forked out in overtime since March of this year.

“I have limited resources and I have to police the whole city and county,” he said.

He added that this was not a one-person job and it required a Sergeant and four to five gardaí to carry out the checks.

Chief Supt Curley said that public drinking increased the risk of accidental drowning. Surely there is a more cost-effective way of ensuring that doesn’t happen.

If the Gardaí are serious about public safety, some degree of lateral thinking is needed. Punishing people with fines and erecting sineage is quite clearly not going to work.

Michael Malone
Email me at editor@galwaydaily.com
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