Barred from the pub? sociologist wants to hear your story

I am a sociologist interested in issues of inclusion and exclusion in Irish society and the management of spoilt identity.

To this end I am interested in hearing of the circumstances under which people have been barred from public houses in this country and the consequences thereof. Being barred, especially from a favourite pub, can be a deeply disturbing, traumatic and embarrassing event for a person. It can often happen as a consequence of vulnerability, challenge or threat that is being experienced by a person in their life or other chronic underlying factors. Publicans are not sufficiently sensitive or knowledgeable to enable them to understand such matters so that even one minor event, often arising from a miscommunication, may be sufficient to incur summary debarment. These events in most cases are so minor as to not even warrant the attention of the Gardaí and yet a person may end up being barred effectively for life. This is grossly unjust and degrading and can pose serious long term mental health problems for the person concerned. All matters that are serious enough to go before the bench have at least a time limit imposed by which time the offence can be discharged and the person is judged to have been rehabilitated and readmitted to society. Not so in the case of a pub debarment which is always at the whim of the bar owner or manager. No explanation needs to be given. There is no recourse other than to suffer the outrageous consequences resulting in stigma, spoilt identity, prejudice and exclusion in the community whose centre the pub often is.

I am asking people who feel that they have suffered unfairly as a result of this arbitrary and unregulated form of punishment to contact me with their stories. My intention is to examine as many case studies as I receive to produce an account of this phenomenon in contemporary Ireland so as propose a number of recommendations whereby, through a process of mediation, offending parties and pub owners may be reconciled and rehabilitation of the original offence can occur.

I am asking anybody with any relevant experience, thoughts. Interests or ideas in relation to this matter to contact me at the address below. I can assure you of confidentiality in all respects and at all times. Sincerely, Dr Paul A. Stokes, School of Sociology, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4. Email: