Saturday 18 November 2017

Locals fail to halt Trinity off-licence

TCD Trinity College
TCD Trinity College
Trinity College

Cormac Murphy

TRINITY College has been given the green light for an off-licence on campus – despite strong opposition.

The university received  permission from Dublin City Council for the off-licence – and  grocery store – in one of its buildings on the ground floor of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute on Pearse Street.

As part of the plan, Trinity will amalgamate two units “to provide a local convenience store with subsidiary alcohol sales”.

However, the proposal has been met fierce resistance from members of the surrounding community, some of whom highlighted existing problems with student drinking.

“I think it would be the height of irresponsibility to allow an off-licence into a college building.  “This cannot be conducive to sensible practice,” said Garret Whelan in a letter of objection to the council.

“The addition of another off-licence in the area will only serve to bolster the antisocial behaviour in the area. Living locally, I have first-hand experience of this behaviour, which I can only assume is fuelled by alcohol,” Mr Whelan added.

Another opponent, Michael O'Driscoll, also pointed to anti-social behaviour problems.

Serious “I believe this will create a very serious antisocial issue in this area, particularly with young students congregating in this area everyday,” he stated.

“There is a full off-licence in the Spar in Hanover Street and this fully services all requirements for alcohol in Pearse Street,” Mr O'Driscoll added.

Fionnuala Sheehan, chief executive of alcohol awareness group drinkaware.ie, said the presence of an off-licence in a Trinity building is not the real issue. “I'm not sure that it will exacerbate it (problems with student drinking).

Education and responsible drinking is what is most important when you're looking at this issue,” she told the Herald.

Trinity had not provided a comment to the Herald  at the time of writing.

A city council ruling in favour of the university was appealed to An Bord Pleanala, which upheld the decision.

The board ruled that the sale of alcohol, while permitted, could not be advertised on the front of the premises, while no alcohol products will be allowed on or near entrances or windows.

A survey conducted in 2011 by UCD's University Observer revealed the number of students drinking excessive amounts of alcohol had risen since the recession

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