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Frontline services struggle with Paddy's mayhem

ST Patrick’s Day celebrations in the capital weren’t any more riotous than normal but a shortage of emergency personnel left services "overstretched".

Gardai were out in force over the weekend after fights broke out in the capital’s main hotspots, including Temple Bar and O’Connell Street.

Emergency services told the Herald that resources were “overstretched” as ambulances struggled to attend to a “serious number of assaults and alcohol-related falls”.

A spokesperson for Dublin Fire Brigade said they received “hundreds of calls” relating to injuries and alcohol-related incidents.

The spokesperson said the ambulance service was “unable to cope” with the amount of calls coming through, and that there was a serious backlog of incidents.

He added that 10 reported incidents had to be put on hold as there weren’t enough ambulances to attend to the scenes.

In one incident, a man was injured after a “glass was smashed in his face”, the spokesperson said.

It was also outlined how a number of injuries, such as broken noses, were sustained during drunken brawls after revellers spilled out on to the city’s streets as nightclubs drew to a close.

“The phone lines have been manic. The calls were out the door. Most of the incidents were in O’Connell Street, Temple Bar and Burgh Quay. It’s been a typical Paddy’s night,” the spokesperson said.

The Herald observed a number of young people having their alcohol confiscated by gardai at Central Bank, and a number of young men received cautions for urinating in the streets.

In another case, a woman was rushed to hospital after she slipped on a glass bottle in Temple Bar.

Meanwhile, gardai attempted to diffuse a number of potentially violent altercations on Dame Street.

In one particular incident, they were forced to intervene after a young woman accused a man of punching her in the face.

The woman’s friend intervened and a fight broke out among a group of men.

However, gardai arrived on the scene and the woman was arrested.

Also in Dame Street, a female tourist complained to gardai that her iPhone was stolen from a man who snatched it out of her hand as he passed by on a bicycle.

The woman said the man grabbed the phone from her hand while she was “recording a video” of people singing in the street.

In another incident, gardai chased a group of youths after they toppled a portaloo, while a man attempted to go to the toilet. The man, who was covered in urine as a result, alerted gardai who attempted to catch those responsible.

A spokesperson for St James’s Hospital said the emergency ward was “overcrowded” as staff had to deal with a number of alcohol-related incidents throughout the night.

“The incidents ranged from minor to serious. The hospital’s services are usually overstretched but a high number of people were brought in throughout the night.”

Elsewhere, tourists received an eyeful after a naked man sang from an apartment window in Temple Bar to crowds in the street below.

Tourists stopped to record the man who was wearing nothing but a hat.