independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Emergency call-outs for Arthur’s Day down on last year, figures reveal

The A&E department at St James's Hospital was quiet last night after the events which included gigs by The Script (inset)

EMERGENCY services said call-outs last night were above average for a Thursday night – but not “alarming”.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended Arthur’s Day celebrations - organised by Guinness maker Diageo - throughout the country last night.

A spokesperson for the emergency services in Dublin said it was slightly busier than an average Saturday night in the city.

“It was busier. The normal calls for an average Thursday night are normally around 80 to 100 and last night was a 158.

“But we’ve no way of telling what kind of calls they are until the ambulance report forms come back.

“It was busier than an average Saturday night but only slightly busier.

“And it was certainly not as busy as the other celebratory nights such as the All-Ireland final day or New Year’s Eve or Halloween or any of those nights.

“It was well low on those.”

Meanwhile, in Cork, Gerry McCarthy, a consultant in emergency medicine Cork University Hospital, said they received 14 alcohol-related admissions there last night. “That’s out of 180 attendances on a typical day. We wouldn’t regard that as excessive,” he said on RTE’s Morning Ireland.

In the city’s Mercy Hospital, which Mr McCarthy said was severely affected last year, they had just two admissions.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Diageo boss Peter O’Brien said he spoke to the Garda Chief Superintendent in Pearse Street and was told incidents last night were well down when compared to last year.

“I think the biggest success is that hundreds of thousands of people visited pubs all over the country and had amazing experiences.

“So what we’ve had is fantastic engagement – we’ve put Guinness, the pub and music at the centre of it. The pub is where we should be having people drink.

Diageo had come in for much criticism during the week – but Mr O’Brien says the event and company has helped contribute to a wider debate on alcohol misuse.

“It’s been a difficult week – I’ll be the first to admit that.

“But I was talking to the chief superintendent in Pearse Street this morning – incidents down over 50pc. I mean they’re congratulating everybody on how well behaved they were.

“So it has been a difficult week but two things have happened. One is we’ve put the pub at the centre of what needs to happen where people need to go to be able to drink.

“I think that’s great because the pub is in crisis and we need to do something about that.

“And the second thing is what has happened this week has elevated a much wider debate that’s going on which is how do we deal with some of the misuse issues that’s going on in Ireland.

“And if we’ve helped contribute to that, then I think that’s a good week’s work.”

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