The formal adoption of bye-laws on the regulation and control of the consumption of intoxicating liquor in public places which received due pertinence at the monthly meeting of Athlone Moate Municipal District has been unilaterally welcomed by local authority representatives who have expressed their aspirations that the introduction of such measures will curb ongoing anti-social behaviour within the town centre.
Addressing the Council Chamber, District Manager, Jackie Finney, noted that the draft bye-laws had been circulated prior to the Christmas period and with the consultation period now at its conclusion, formal adoption of the legalised measures now awaited.
Welcoming the news, Cllr. Aengus O’Rourke, who has been very vocal pertaining to the drafting and introduction of relevant legislation due to the increase of anti-social behaviour incidents within the town, stressed the urgent need to proceed and adopt the measures into law.
“It is extremely important now for us, as a Municipal District, to proceed with the adoption of these legislative bye-laws and such measures should be implemented with immediate effect.
“Hopefully, they shall be enforced when required and will result in a reduction in the number of anti-social behaviour incidents which have been all too numerous on our town centre streets in recent times.
“Prior to the drafting of such bye-laws, we, as a Municipal District, had no legislation with which to deal with such criminality and I would call on the Gardai to impose these measures as appropriate going forward,” Cllr. O’Rourke.
The Fianna Fáil Councillor spoke of his “helplessness” when relayed details of anti-social behaviour activities by members of the local community in recent times.
“While listening to members of the community relay their stories of fear and angst, I realised I did not have the lawful capacity to act on their behalf but the bye-laws implementation should reduce the activities of those who were always willing to test the resolve of Gardai knowing there was no relevant law in place in this regard.
“Anti-social behaviour on our town centre streets is certainly not the image we want to be portraying as a regional growth centre and hopefully the impact of such legislation will now deter those inclined to proceed with illegal activities,” Cllr. O’Rourke stressed.
Echoing similar sentiments to those expressed by Cllr. O’Rourke, Cllr. John Dolan, who has been to the fore with his views on the issue, noted that affording the relevant authority to Gardai to curtail anti-social behavior activity in the town was the remit of the Athlone Moate Municipal District.
“Unfortunately, we have many issues of anti-social behaviour our our town’s streets, but now we have afforded the authority to the relevant powers to enforce tis legislation when necessary,” Cllr. Dolan stated.
Gardai now have the formal authority to stop, search and confiscate those persons suspected of consuming alcohol in a public place. An arrestable offence, a standard fixed fine of €75 will be imposed. If unpaid within a period of 21 days, a person can be subject to prosecution and a potential fine of up to €1,500.