Councillor wants to can the cans

Bottles dumped at the Spanish Arch.

As the good weather looks set to continue, one city councillor has renewed calls for a more orchestrated approach to deal with public drinking around the Spanish Arch.

Since the mercury began to rise two weeks ago, sun-seekers have been flocking to the water – with many ignoring city bylaws which ban the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Labour councillor, Niall McNelis, said it was becoming an increasingly difficult area for Gardaí to police – and will meet with Superintendent Tom Curley later today to voice these concerns.

“I will be meeting with him on behalf of a number of business organisations and residents – it is really about policing in the summer months. The Gardaí do an amazing job and this is really a question of resources,” said Cllr McNelis, a member of the city’s Joint Policing Committee.

Cllr McNelis said that it was a matter of public safety and that people should not be inebriated beside the water.

“Everyone is entitled to a bit of fun but we saw a number of incidents around the country over the past week and accidents in the water where people lost their lives.

“Last Thursday, four people went into the water at Spanish Arch. With those four individuals, there were eight Gardaí called to the scene, the Fire Brigade and the RNLI – that is not good use of resources,” said Cllr McNelis.

A number of sensitive areas around the Claddagh are also falling foul of anti-social behaviour – something Cllr McNelis said was as a direct result of the uncontrollable nature of large crowds on the banks of Claddagh Quay.

“Even the grotto in the Claddagh Church is being used as a public toilet,” he added.

The Labour spokesperson on tourism said the problem of public drinking was city-wide and needed to be tackled – particularly at times of good weather when it becomes more prevalent.

“We have bylaws that prohibit public drinking and this isn’t just about the Spanish Arch – you have public drinking every day on Shop Street, Quay Street and around the Fairgreen. We need to stop this from occurring,” said Cllr McNelis.

See full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune.