Wednesday 28 September 2016

Father-of-the-bride defends stag party which donned Hitler masks in Prague: 'They’re not cowboys. They’re decent guys'

Geraldine Gittens

Published 01/05/2015 | 11:30

Members of a drunk stag party who wore Hitler masks near a Jewish quarter while on a stag party in Prague have been branded “repulsive” and a “disgrace” by an Irish business owner in the city.

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Irish pub owner Frank Haughton said a group of around 25 men from Cork verbally abused locals, slapped waitresses on their buttocks, and dressed offensively during the stag celebration last Saturday in Prague.

But the father of the bride defended his future son-in-law and described the stag party as a "decent bunch of guys".

Mr Haughton, who owns Caffrey’s on Prague’s Old Town Square, and the James Joyce pub, said the Cork group was the worst stag party he had ever encountered.

He said they were a “huge embarrassment to Ireland”.

“I’ve never seen anything like this – the abuse of the [waitresses], smacking their asses, grabbing them.

“It’s rather insensitive, but what seemed to upset the staff more was their reaction to a couple over 70 [who questioned their behaviour] and they were subject to a tirade of very foul language. They were also tourists.

“Some of the guys were well behaved but they were let down by the vast majority of them. They were a group of about 25 guys, and when you have a group that behaves like this, the whole group gets tarnished.

“I’ve never had the staff come on to me before about something like this and I’ve been here for 22 years.”

Last Saturday afternoon between 2.30pm – 5pm, the group of Cork men sat in the “garden area” outside the pub, and engaged in raucous behaviour, Mr Haughton said.

“We have summer gardens here in Prague, and they were sitting outside on the square which made them more visible, the Hitler masks were visible to everyone on the streets – people gather there and locals pass through.

“I wouldn’t say they were drunk when they arrived, but they got noisy with the masks, started passing comments to people passing by, manhandled the girls. Generally it just escalated.

“Eventually we had to stop serving them and ask them to leave. We were told what they thought of us. We got a bit of a kickback verbally.”

The pub owner described the stag party as the worst he’s ever encountered.

“Only twice in all my years of business have we had problems. This was the second time. The first time was with another Irish stag party about eight or nine years ago - they were messy and getting sick.

“I just felt there’s a time in life when you have to take a stance against something, it did leave a bad taste with me.”

The father of the bride defended his future son-in-law this morning on Cork’s 96fm Opinion Line show. He said his daughter is currently not aware of the trouble at last weekend’s stag.

The woman’s father said: “There is no malice in them, there’s no harm. They went away for a nice time. You can’t control all the people there.

“[My future son-in-law] is a lovely guy and he’s quiet. You wouldn’t hear him behind a paper bag.

“I wasn’t at the stag but I know the guys that were out there and they’re a very decent bunch of guys.

“When they found out what was after going down, they went away and changed their clothes and went over and they apologised.

“A lot of them are in their 20s and their 30s – they probably hadn’t a clue what was going on in World War II, they probably didn’t know it was the former [Czechoslovakia],” he told the show’s presenter Deirdre O’Shaughnessy.

However, he said he would have put a stop to the group’s behaviour if he was on the stag. He admitted that he would be angry if he witnessed his own daughter being treated similarly to the pub’s waitresses.

“If a guy said that to my daughter, I’d probably give him a clatter around the ear. They probably wouldn’t do it again.

“I know if I was there I certainly wouldn’t have allowed it anyway because I know the history of the world war, and I know what [Hitler] did, and it was very, very inappropriate.

“They’re not cowboys. They’re decent guys. What they did was inappropriate but when they found out what happened they apologised, now, who they apologised to I just don’t know.”

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