Private Security Authority “a quango”, says judge

Judge Seamus Hughes has described the Private Security Authority which regulates bouncers and security staff as being “like a private police force operating in this country”.

He said the authority has brought about more regulation to the point where people can no longer get a local handyman to fit a deadbolt lock because this must be done by a registered, licensed person.

He made his comments to Triona Walshe of Limerick law firm Holmes O’Malley Sexton who was in court to bring two prosecutions on behalf of the authority.

“A man can’t put up his own CCTV camera or change a lock,” he said, telling Ms Walsh that the PSA started off regulating door staff, then regulating CCTV on pubs and private premises, and now is moving to regulate the installation of locks on doors and windows.

He said he had listened to a lot of radio discussion about the PSA and hasn’t heard one bit of positive reporting about the organisation.

Ms Walsh said the regulations are in place for public policy reasons, but the judge said he wants to hear in detail not just the legislation but also the detail of how they either train or oversee the training of door staff.

When told the PSA doesn’t provide training, but issues licences when applicants show they qualify and are trained, the judge described the PSA as “a fee collecting body”.

“It’s another quango preventing small tradesmen going about their business,” he said.

The offences in question relate to Bed nightclub in Mullingar’s Mount Street, where it’s alleged owner Colin Dolan of Jamestown House, Castletowngeoghegan employed Craig Bannon of Grange Cottages, Mullingar to act as a doorman when he wasn’t licensed to.

Bannon, who is pleading not guilty to acting as a doorman without a licence, is contesting the case and according to his solicitor Louis Kiernan, will say that he was employed as a manager, not a doorman or bouncer.

It’s the PSA’s allegation that this was witnessed by an inspector on the night of October 31 into November 1 last.

The case was adjourned to later in July for hearing.

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