A SCORCHING-hot Bank Holiday weekend was marred on a number of Fingal beaches with drink-fuelled public order disturbances, culminating in a pitched battle on Portmarnock beach.About 20 individuals, many of whom had consumed large quantities of alcohol were removed by local gardaí from Portmarnock Beach after a drink-fuelled fight between a group of non-nationals and sBy John Manning
A SCORCHING-hot Bank Holiday weekend was marred on a number of Fingal beaches with drink-fuelled public order disturbances, culminating in a pitched battle on Portmarnock beach.
About 20 individuals, many of whom had consumed large quantities of alcohol were removed by local gardaí from Portmarnock Beach after a drink-fuelled fight between a group of non-nationals and some local men on Saturday.
According to one source, the fight began because ‘one group had alcohol and the others didn’t and wanted it’.
One man was injured in the fighting, suffering a wound to the head from a broken bottle. Local Gardaí said the same man had been earlier advised to leave the beach but had ‘failed to heed that advice’.
A number of squad cars gathered at the scene to quell the beach riot and restore order to the beach which was being used by hundreds of bank holiday sun-worshippers.
The Garda helicopter was also watching the scene overhead, which according to one eye-witness, developed into a battle between two groups of youths who were ‘flinging bottles at each other’.
Malahide Gardaí said they were busy enforcing the bye-laws on liquor and public order over the weekend and that most people had complied with their requests not to drink on the beach.
Scenes of binge-drinking were repeated across Fingal’s beaches in Portmarnock, Donabate and Skerries, stretching the resources of Fingal’s litter crews to the limit.
Eithne Mallin, Administrative Officer in Fingal County Council’s Beach Section, said that every one of her crew of beach cleaners had been working at the weekend.
Ms Mallin said the mayhem seen on Fingal’s beaches were mainly public order offences related to drink and people needed to be reminded that the consumption of alcohol on beaches was illegal.
Ms Mallin said Fingal County Council staff like lifeguards could not be expected to deal with the kind of disturbances seen at the weekend and that it was up to the Gardaí to enforce the drinking bye-laws.
Council property was also damaged during the weekend disturbances. 16 green bins on the coast were ‘battered and kicked’ and needed to be replaced by the 25-strong council crew that worked every day of the Bank Holiday weekend to clean up the mess.
Ms Mallin said: ‘Drinking on the beach is against the bye-laws. It is very hard to strike a balance between the family who want to have a picnic on the beach with a bottle of wine or a glass of beer and those who binge drink.’
Ms Mallin and local Gardaí appealed to people not to drink on Fingal’s beaches and respect other beach users.
Malahide Gardaí said the liquor laws would be rigorously enforced and since the incident at Portmarnock Beach on Saturday, the Garda presence on the beach has notably increased.
Local councillor, Peter Coyle (Lab) expressed his concern over the incident, as did Dr James Reilly (FG) who said that calls he received from local residents close to Portmarnock Beach revealed that locals were ‘very upset and distressed’ over the incident.
Dr Reilly said the Portmarnock riot was an indication that there was not enough Gardaí in the area and that there needed to be an increased visible presence in public places on a holiday weekend.