Monday 10 December 2018

Calls to Fire Brigade tumble as pubs get to open on Good Friday

Dr Bobby Smyth said the dip in 999 calls good was good news
Dr Bobby Smyth said the dip in 999 calls good was good news
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

There were 100 fewer emergency calls to Dublin Fire Brigade on Good Friday this year, despite the end of Ireland's 90-year pub opening ban.

The brigade confirmed yesterday that the number of calls had fallen compared with 2016.

Dublin City Mayor Micheal Mac Donncha said the fact that pubs had opened had "illuminated the phenomenon of stocking up in supermarkets on Holy Thursday".

"It was as if the pubs were going to be closed for a week," Mr Mac Donncha said.

"It's good the stocking up has reduced as it seems it could have been connected to people binge drinking at home at parties on Good Friday. That's why this drop in calls could have happened."

Donall O'Keeffe, chief executive of the Licensed Vintners' Association, also welcomed the news and said he wasn't surprised as drinkers were monitored by pub staff in safe environments, unlike unmanned house parties.

"We have always felt the pubs were the safest, most controlled places to enjoy a drink in a social environment where people are drinking with their neighbours, friends and colleagues," he said.

"It just goes to show drinking socially in pubs is preferable.

"There are no free measures, no free pours, and the owners, managers and staff manage the premises and situation to make sure people are not out of hand, that they are not a danger to themselves or others.

"We create a safe atmosphere to have a drink, but in people's homes, there aren't controls and measures on how much everyone consumes.

"We were delighted with Good Friday. It was good for locals - and for tourists to be able to go for a drink and a bite to eat."

Responsible drinking advocate and psychologist Dr Bobby Smyth said there would need to be more research over an extended period see if a link could be established between fewer 999 calls and pubs opening on Good Friday.

A Dublin Fire Brigade spokesman said: "A lot of call-outs are alcohol related. We normally see a lot of house parties and drinking on Good Friday.

"We were 100 calls down on last year. We haven't done a detailed analysis of that, and that could take some time, but it's good news so far."

Irish Independent

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