Cllr claims alcohol at Christmas Market sparking disorder

The Christmas Market in Eyre Square in 2017.

Young people were regularly falling out of the ‘bier keller’ “out of their mind” on drink and were “jeering” those stuck up on the giant Ferris wheel for hours the night the Christmas market opened, a city councillor has claimed.

Fine Gael Councillor Padraig Conneely continued his crusade against the annual event at a City Joint Policing Committee, by asking the Gardaí why they had approved the alcohol licence for the event.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley confirmed that the Gardaí had no objection to the drinks licence in the Christmas market and the Vodafone Comedy Festival as the bars closed at 10pm and both were “extremely well-run” events, with no recorded public order incidents taking place.

City Supt Marie Skehill said she would be in agreement that both events were “very well run”.

Cllr Conneely said he would beg to differ.

When it launched on November 17, over 20 people were trapped on the Ferris wheel for up to three hours after it stalled mid-ride, resulting in Gardaí and emergency services having to be called.

“Kids were traumatised. Young people were coming out of that tent very much under the influence of alcohol. They were making a laugh and a joke out of what was happening. They were jeering as anxious parents looked on.”

Cllr Conneely said the Gardaí were members of the Galway Healthy Cities Alcohol Forum, whose stated aim was to reduce alcohol related harm by reducing the availability of alcohol at community events.

“We are paying lip service to our own strategy . . . if you were there yourself on a Friday you’d have seen the drunken mauls. You talk to any taxi driver and they will tell you the numbers they bring out of their minds from the tent. You have children and parents, pushing buggies, mixing with these people.”

He declared that he was not a ‘killjoy’ or anti-alcohol but would not be called a hypocrite.

Cllr Conneely has raised his objections to the Christmas market at numerous Council meetings, the HSE West Regional Health Forum and in press releases issued to the media.