New bye-law to curb public drinking with on-spot fines

A new bye-law – giving community wardens and Gardaí the power to confiscate alcohol from people drinking in public – has been published by the City Council.

The proposal will become law in two months’ time and includes on-the-spot fines of €100 – increasing to €1,500 if not paid. But the law can still be ‘relaxed’ during festivals and celebrations.

It will replace an existing bye-law which banned drinking in public places, but could not be properly enforced by Gardaí because of a legal loophole.

Gardaí, community wardens and other authorised officers of the Council will have the power to search a person suspected of having a container with alcohol and confiscate it.

They can also issue an on-the-spot fine of €100, which doubles if not paid within 21 days. If unpaid within 56 days, the matter goes to court, where a judge can impose a fine of up to €1,500.

The bye-law introduces an outright ban on drinking in public places – including streets, parks and beaches – but the Chief Executive of the City Council can ‘relax’ them during festivals.

It provides that two months before any major civic celebrations, sporting events, special community events and festivals, the law can be relaxed in designated licensed areas.

A loophole in the existing law prevents Gardaí from confiscating alcohol being consumed in public.

The proposed bye-law is now on public display for a period of two months, after which it will be brought into operation.