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Coppers off limits to US sailors

COPPER Face Jacks was off limits for US sailors in Dublin over the weekend for the Notre Dame vs Navy American football match.

While the city was flooded with uniformed men, they were under orders to be on their best behaviour.

Party spots such as Temple Bar and Dame Street were acceptable, but it seems Harcourt Street was a step too far.

They were also warned not to take part in drinking games with the locals.

Strict rules of engagement confined navy personnel to a designated 'liberty area' in the city centre. They had to go out in groups of two to eight, and were not to get involved in 'politically motivated discussions'.

The liberty area carefully excluded Copper Face Jacks, and all the party zones of Camden Street and Harcourt Street.

The warning against Coppers is probably no surprise, given the controversy caused by allegations that one of Barack Obama's secret service men had a fling with a woman at the venue during the US President's visit last year.

On this occasion men and women who have risked their lives in war zones risked disciplinary action if they breached any of the six rules.

Military chiefs specified that personnel should keep to an area within the Guinness Storehouse in the west to the O2 arena in the east, and from Henry Street in the north to University College Dublin in the south.

One rule stipulated that all personnel observe both US and local laws in Dublin and that they use the 'buddy system', travelling in groups of between two and eight.

Another forbade them from drinking alcohol in 'open containers, public drunkenness and drinking games'.

The sailors (who suffered a drubbing by Notre Dame in the Aviva stadium) were even warned to 'avoid politically motivated discussions'.

They were instructed to maintain military bearing. Fighting was strictly prohibited. They had to avoid confrontation and immediately notify police of any harassment. They were also told to avoid protest activity.

The only leeway was the use of Dublin's public transport system and even then the party limits still applied.

For the rest of the rest of 35,000 fans who flew in from US, there were no such restrictions, allowing them to party all over the city in pubs and clubs festooned with decorations to celebrate the two teams.