Thursday 29 September 2016

Where the streets have no shame: Late-night party scenes in capital 'like a jungle'

Ryan Nugent and Laura Larkin

Published 01/04/2016 | 11:09

These sights are just part of a regular Saturday night on one of Dublin’s most popular party streets
These sights are just part of a regular Saturday night on one of Dublin’s most popular party streets
Two women were involved in one particularly vicious altercation
A man in his 20s was apprehended by the garda public order unit on Camden Street

Blood, vomit and the drunk and disorderly fill Camden Street on any given Saturday night.

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The Herald witnessed a number of nasty fights breaking out on the street when we visited one weekend.

Two women were involved in one particularly vicious altercation. In another fracas, a man punched a young woman on the nose.

But these sights are just part of a regular Saturday night on one of Dublin’s most popular party streets, and a display of the regular drink-fuelled violence that plays out around the capital on weekends.

In one incident, a man was pinned down by bouncers at one of the street’s primary venues, after he allegedly punched a young woman on the nose.

The woman was taken home and did not need hospital treatment.

Two women were involved in one particularly vicious altercation
Two women were involved in one particularly vicious altercation

However, it is unclear whether the man was apprehended by gardai over the incident, which took place shortly before 2am and is believed to have been unprovoked.

One eyewitness said “people think bouncers pin people down for nothing, but there’s your proof”.

Meanwhile, in a subsequent incident, a man in his 20s was apprehended by the garda public order unit on Camden Street shortly after an assault at 2.10am. He is believed to have been in an altercation with bouncers.

The public order unit was seen regularly patrolling the Camden Street and Harcourt Street area as thousands of revellers moved in and out of the pubs, clubs and late bars in the area.

A man in his 20s was apprehended by the garda public order unit on Camden Street
A man in his 20s was apprehended by the garda public order unit on Camden Street

Bouncers on the street also had to contend with the vomit that covered the outside of some of the main hotspots, while dozens of drunk and disorderly people stood in the middle of the busy street as droves of taxis frantically attempted to avoid crashing into them.

As thousands filtered out of the bars and nightclubs on both Camden Street and Harcourt Street, making their way to the numerous takeaways, tensions boiled over again.

One bar owner told the Herald that with no late-night food outlets on Harcourt Street, the spillover from its many nightclubs can cause trouble.

And this was when the violence on the street spiked, as a brawl broke out between three women in front of hundreds of onlookers.

The fight occurred shortly after 3.30am as the women viciously tore at each other until they were eventually broken up by friends from either side of the row.

They then began arguing with each other again and another scuffle broke out, as blood covered their clothing.

The woman in grey could be seen with blood down the side of her right arm. She was also spotted being handed tissue from a nearby business owner as she attempted to put a stop to the gushing blood coming from her nose.

It is unclear what provoked the fight. No charges have been made in connection with any of the incidents.

Gardai say that up to 60pc of public order offences occur between 8pm and 4am.

Journalist Eugene Maloney was one high-profile victim of a vicious one-punch assault on the street.

Mr Moloney (55) was set upon there at 4am on June 24, 2012. He was taken to hospital by ambulance but was pronounced dead an hour later.

Gary Burch (22), of Kennington Close, Templeogue pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the killing.

The court heard how Burch threw his arms in the air in a “celebratory fashion” and shouted “Boom!” after punching Mr Moloney in the neck.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended the last two years of a five-and-a-half-year sentence, which she backdated to December 15, 2012, to account for time served in custody after his arrest.

The apprentice mechanic, told gardai during questioning he was disgusted with what was a “moment of craziness”.

The new 'Temple Bar'

Camden Street has been dubbed the “new Temple Bar” – but those living and working on the street have mixed feelings regarding its new status.

Wetherspoon’s grand plans for a super-pub and hotel at a former homeless hostel at Camden Hall are on hold because of concerns over an over-concentration of pubs in the area.

Residents appealed to the city council to stop any more late-night haunts opening. “Enough is enough, the area is at tipping point,” one man said.

One local restaurateur said that, after midnight, the D2 thoroughfare can become a “jungle”, with club-goers and revellers urinating on street corners.

Kal Anton, the manager of Jerusalem restaurant, said while he welcomed more businesses to the area, he could understand why residents might be opposed to more pubs.

“When we are leaving at 1am you can see Camden Street is like a jungle,” he told the Herald.

“It’s very anti-social. This lane here [beside his restaurant] is, I’m sorry to say, like a WC on Friday night and Saturday night.

“People have had enough of Temple Bar – so Camden Street is like an outside-of-the-city Temple Bar; it’s a very popular place.”

Mr Anton said he has no objections to JD Wetherspoon or any other businesses setting up shop on Camden Street.

“I believe competition is good. People like choice – and the more options they have the better.

“If I was a resident then, maybe, I wouldn’t be happy with another new place, but from a business point of view it’s fine,” he said.

Further along the street, Camden Rotisserie owner John Paul Lynch takes a similar view. “It’s a case of the more the merrier. We opened here three years ago and about 10 places have opened since us.

“It turns the place into a hub. I don’t think Wetherspoon is going to bring the area down,” he said.

Resident Fianna O’Donnell (inset), who has lived locally for four years, said she had also noticed a jump in activity on the street.

“It’s got a lot busier ... It’s just full of people vomiting everywhere,” she said. “You walk along the laneway and there is a smell of urine,” Ms O’DOnnell said.

“You certainly are looking over your shoulder a bit more when you’re walking home now. I don’t think there is enough of a garda presence.

“It’s always been a busy, young area though and it’s mostly people having a laugh,” she added.

Herald

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