The days of people congregating in public places outdoors and drinking in Ballinrobe and Claremorris could be coming to an end very soon. Mayo County Council will be putting bye-laws to regulate the consumption of alcohol in public places in both towns out for public consultation within the next two weeks. It is then hoped that these bye laws will be passed by the local electoral area committee and a full meeting of Mayo County Council by the end of the year, with the bye laws coming into effect early in 2012.
The new bye-laws were roundly welcomed by all the elected members of the Claremorris Electoral Area Committee this week. They were told that the bye-laws were designed to stop people congregating and drinking in places like public car parks, cemeteries, alleyways, roadways, and any other place that the public would generally access. The reach of the proposed bye-laws would stretch as far out in each town as was covered by the town development plans in both towns. Fine Gael councillor Tom Connolly welcomed the news saying: “We have it here in our own town [Claremorris] in different car parks, playgrounds, sports pitches, and the place is littered with glass and cans from people drinking there and no-one is accountable. The Gardaí are powerless to do anything because there are no bye laws there at present.”
Fianna Fáil councillor Damien Ryan while welcoming the news, also questioned how effectively it would be enforced. “It’s good news, but we have to hope the gardaí can enforce it, they are already stretched as it is. In my town [Ballinrobe] we have seen the number of gardaí in the town drop from 13 to eight in the past few years so I’d say it could be difficult to enforce.”