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That pot Kenny show on Newstalk. Now, that footage which emerged over the weekend of large groups of people gathering in Killarney town late on Saturday night, the videos clearly show a group of people drinking and singing on the streets and most definitely not observing social distancing. I'm joined on the line by local councillor Nigel Keller. Good morning. Good morning, Pat.
What is the reaction in Killarney town to what we all see on YouTube?
Look, let's be very clear that this morning past people are very, very upset and they're disappointed. And the vast majority of businesses and people in Killarney town have adhered to the public health guidelines, the restrictions by government and the HSC during the course of the pandemic and to see the scenes that we saw on Saturday night was it was heartbreaking for a lot of people who really had a large loss during corvids, people who've lost loved ones, people who've sacrificed event family events and are not been able to see moments of their life and their family to see this was upsetting and disappointing.
It was very irresponsible behavior on behalf of the people involved.
Now, it's been suggested that this is not the first time scenes like this have occurred in Killarney. So first time we've all seen them on social media, but not the first time it's happened.
I wouldn't say that Malpasse was Saturday night was particularly different compared to the entire tourist season. And I'm speaking to a number of people and members of my own family who were going to Killarney for shopping and stuff on Saturday. Traffic was particularly busy and their families that had been staycation in Kelowna over the summer months were obviously gone home. And we had a different crowd of people that were staying only at the weekend and younger adults who were probably going back to college.
And so we haven't had scenes like this in CollabNet. You've had scenes, obviously pretty pandemic. But during the current crisis and since people have been opening up, we haven't had these scenes because if we did pass, we would have been on top of them as public representatives. And we are now following what we've seen. And bear in mind, that video went viral, that 10 minutes after that incident, the county where they are Prokop that incident and move people on their way.
So it is a video of the minutes which was wrong when it was brought to the authorities attention. It was dangerous and the crowds were dispersed. But notwithstanding, the raw material had to be there.
In other words, people with a lot to drink in them because the inhibitions were absent. So you can presume that drink had been consumed. And the question is, you know, are they staying in caravans and swilling supermarket booze and the caravans before they hit Killarney town or were they purchasing the drink in the town?
Well, look, it's no surprise that they are Bambis, as you say, holiday homes, all of that have been particularly busy at our supermarket. Our licenses have been open all through the pandemic and drink is being consumed from our licenses. There was people that had plastic glasses that looked like it came from a beer tap. So it is fair to say that there is an issue possibly there, but that is the guard's job. And I would be fully supportive of the current chairman of the JPC.
And Kerry, I've already spoken to the superintendent and, you know, I think we have to take a lot of what came out yesterday with the GSA, especially Bruntlett.
Cunningham has said in relation to that in a moment or two.
Yes. And she is right. You know, how how can you differentiate when you go into an establishment whether a person has eaten or not? But it is important that the businesses be cognizant of every bit of suffering that has gone on because it is an irresponsible slap in the face. I've seen people who've lost loved ones on social media yesterday who are very, very Irish, and we've seen scenes on the streets, but we've seen scenes elsewhere around the country.
And it is high time that people acted responsibly.
You know, think you can you can ask people to act responsibly, but sometimes you do need a carrot and stick approach, encourage them, but also have some sanction if they don't behave in a way that is, I suppose, taking other people's health into account.
But Michael Healy, Ray TD said that it would be better if the pubs were open, that this wouldn't be happening, that. Applicants would actually control this kind of behavior, to believe that to be so well, there's a point to be taken out of that path in regards to rural pubs and a number of people who are coming in to have a drink or two like they've always done and go home enrolled in rural life.
Now, in fairness, in fairness, I can't even imagine a street party in Kilkivan Park.
So, you know, we're not really talking about those. We're talking about.
Look, I suppose the center of hospitality in the southwest, which is Kalani. Correct.
And is there. Yeah. And you'll have that in many towns. And that will be an issue when everybody goes out onto the streets of Texas and everyone places are closed. And that's where it comes down to people being personally responsible. So the regulations that are there at this moment in time, Pat, are people who spend five minutes having a beer and having a drink with them. You know, I don't think people can drink fast enough, but however fast you drink, you're not going to be as as intoxicated as some of the videos that we've possibly seen.
As you say, inhibitions were, we're not there. So, look, there's an argument for that. And there are let's go back to make it known to the vast majority of people in tourism and in hospitality are running their premises the way that the guidelines are. We hearing Carrie was a very, very fast county. We actually in in conjunction with the ETP, set up our own course with hospitality industries. And we've gone the extra mile because we knew that we would have a very busy tourist season.
Kerry to council DTV. And we have really, really stressed the importance of the guidelines that are there. If there are rogue operators, I really do hope that that engages. You can look at this video, find as much information as they can, and that the khaldiya, given the powers that these people are closed in the event that are rogue operators and breaching outside the guidelines without relation in court and the 15th of September, very appropriate place to be raising objections.
Very good. Councillor, no killer. Thank you very much for joining us from Killarney. Well, we are joined by the general secretary of the Association of Go Sergeant, some inspectors, Antionette Coningham, aforementioned by Councillor Keller.
Good morning, Pat. What are your reflections on Kalani, first of all, and what happened? And you know, the reported absence of Guarda when the thing erupted. Well, I suppose the first thing I want to say about Kanani is there was an unexplained death there over the weekend, and my sincere sympathies go to the families of that poor gentleman that died unexpectedly at which the guards were attending and are investigating. So, you know, there are other policing matters passed besides covid-19 important.
Is there a traffic traffic incident as well that had to be investigated, that there was a very serious road traffic accident?
And again, you know, families involved there. And there's a lot of investigations of serious incidents that happened in Kilani over the weekend, not just this one, but sadly, this is the one that seems to have got the most publicity, you know, and, you know, I think there has to be a personal responsibility from every citizen of Ireland in relation to covid-19. This virus has not gone away. Everybody should be extremely worried by the rising numbers every day.
You know, all of these people are belong to a family somewhere. What do those families say about the conduct of these people that we saw dancing on top of a defibrillator machine in Killarney on Saturday night? And the guards can't be instantaneously somewhere? You know, sometimes we have to deal with the more serious call at the instant time and then move to the next call and the next call and the guard see the time that that incident very quickly. And it's still with us.
But I think it's regrettable in the face of a national pandemic when the majority of Irish people have been so good and so cooperative with the Guard, that this element of society that we see here continues to let all of us down and affects us all so badly when we see this.
Now, the policing of the pandemic thus far and when they allowed the restaurants and pubs with food offerings to to reopen, has that been difficult to believe? We heard Councillor Keller there saying, you know, how do you know when you walk in whether someone's consumed nine euros worth of grub or not? Back in the old as I mentioned before, there was what they called the bona fides pubs on the outskirts of Dublin where they pass around greasy plates and people could pretend they had a full meal while they were scuttling pints.
It's not beyond the bounds of possibility that that's going on now. The government introduced this legislation in the light of the a lot of media speculation last week about extra powers for the guard purse. What we're asking government is, are you satisfied that the legislation you introduced because remember, this is not GADA legislation. This is government legislation. And what we're saying to the government is if you're introducing legislation, you need to think about the enforcement of this. Is it practical and is it applicable and does it carry a team of provision?
Because if it doesn't, then really it becomes a bit toothless and poorly policed by consent. And look, we did a survey of our membership, which I think I mentioned to you before, and it showed that for every interaction we had with members of the public during that, we had a 97 percent positive interaction race, which is absolutely huge. And the public do deserve to be commended for us. But it's the minority of ones that were left to deal with.
And if you give us legislation that doesn't carry enforcement, then really. We have a difficulty with that, because what happens is you get all this media speculation, you get all these government statements being extra powers are going to be introduced. But when you dig down into those powers and into that legislation, there's no enforcement for calling the Gherardini that actually we can't really do anything about it.
That's the problem. So suppose currently you are called to a house and there are lots of people drinking in the front garden, lots of people drinking in the back garden, people throughout the house drinking. And it's a complaint from a neighbor that it's noise. I mean, when the guard the car arrives, the patrol car arrives with two people on board, maybe three.
What can they do? Can can they do anything in practice?
Well, we do what we do and we are responding to those type of incidents. And what do you do?
I mean, what do you do? Just tell them, you know, stop doing it, go indoors, stop disturbing. But if they continue indoors, even with the pandemic raging and there's no 100 of them crammed into every room of the house, but they're not making noise, that's disturbing the neighbors anymore.
What can you do? Well, I'll tell you what we do, we do get those calls and we have got those calls and we continue to get them. We go to the house, we engage with the people that are there. This is a garden strategy. We explained to them the guidelines and the breach of the guidelines. And we encourage them to stop the behavior, to finish the House party, to abide by the regulations. But when it comes to the door being closed and they say to us, sorry, that we do not have the power to go into that dwelling and we do not have any enforcement power.
And, you know, the entering into a citizen's private house can only be done in accordance with law and under the strictest of conditions and usually under warrant.
And this is, you know, the situation when we hear here. But when we did hear of proposed powers for the guards and going into a person's private dwelling, we would say to the government, consider this and consider the implications of that, because it's a very, very serious thing that you're that, you know, when you watch these American crime shows and so on, if they have reason to believe that there's something going on inside, they don't need a warrant.
Now, I know there are situations. I mean, if you heard screaming and, you know, violence inside a house, you could go in.
I hope you'd go in. But how extreme does it have to be for you guys to actually cast aside any constitutional reservations and go in and save a life? Well, of course, that right is always there, and that's what I'm saying, it's in accordance with law and the law would dictate that if you have a reason to believe that a person's life is imminently in danger, of course you can go into a house. But I think those things detract from the issue here, which is the power of the guards to deal with house parties, because that's the situation that we find ourselves in at the moment.
And that's where the majority of the publicity and the issues continue to emerge with covid-19. And the government need to get a handle on the type of legislation that they're issuing and make sure it's enforceable. And going back to the law that you opened your piece with. If members of the GSA go out to inspect and they're not required to have this restaurant purchased at a restaurant license, the government made legislation that said as long as you serve with substantially the value of nine euro, then you can open your bar.
What if I or any of the members of the GSA go in to inspect us? How do we know whether they've eaten that meat or not? Are we supposed to be looking for receipt? As I said yesterday, winter is coming. It's going to drive people from outdoor dining indoors. The two major rule can be reduced to one meter indoors under certain circumstances if you separate entrance and exit and marked casualties and walkways, sanitizer in case business, that's not for guards to police investigate.
OK, so I do know I think it's impossible for you to be asked to police it, to be quite honest. But here's here's the rub. On Friday, we were talking about this before Kilani ever happened.
And it was pointed out to us that the seven day license that pubs have entitles them to sell drink for consumption on or off the premises.
So currently we have pubs open which have a food offering, whether it's a chicken wings for nine euro or whether it's a pizza, whatever it is they're entitled to drink with that airline you're offering. But because they're open, presumably this they're also entitled to sell pints out the side door for consumption off the premises.
Yeah, I'm not too sure that we're seeing that as an emerging issue here. Do you know what I'm saying to you?
I mean, it may have been the nub of things in Killarney. Do you know? I mean, it may have been what allowed people to drink out of plastic pint glasses on the streets and they had to be getting the drinks somewhere.
Yeah, it may have been. And unfortunately, you know, we don't know the full circumstances yet of what happened in Killarney. I mean, it's an operational matter. It will be the subject of an investigation down there, I'm sure. But again, you know, it's no more than concernedly. Kelleher said they accept the negative aspersion on the people of Killarney who have worked so hard in the face of this pandemic. And I have a huge fondness for Kilani.
Patrick was the first station I was stationed in many years ago when in Benghazi, because I'm very familiar with the town of Kilani because, as I said, I was stationed there. But I do think it's hugely regrettable what happened. But I think, you know, we need to come back to the personal responsibility that all of us have. But government, again, is today they're talking about extra powers for the guardi they need to go down to the enforcement piece of that and don't issue legislation that doesn't carry an enforcement attached.
I don't know whether you heard Ivana Bacik talking to Gavin Haley yesterday on news talk and she was asked about this notion of a civil offence rather than a criminal offence that might be available to to to control these things. And she said there is no such thing in Irish law as a civil offence. If you will offend someone civilly, someone takes it to court and they sue you or whatever.
But, you know, the guard, they have no real role in anything called a civil offence. So you don't want the government to be doing stuff for the optics? Oh, we have an offence, a civil offence, which is meaningless from the guy's point of view.
Absolutely meaningless. We would not become involved in this anyway, and when I did hear that commentary coming on from the government, I'm asking the questions, how would that be enforced? Who would enforce this? What penal provision, if any, would it carry? And ultimately, at the end of the day, the guards will not become involved if it's a civil matter. We just don't become involved in this. All right, well, we will watch them closely to see what they come up with, they have to bear in mind the Constitution, but also like people are saying, this is ridiculous.
You've got the public order laws in place and the guard can't break up house parties. It's the only reason why people call the guard the in the first place because they're a noisy house parties. So why do we always create problems were non-existent.
So what you want from from the government is some sort of law that allows you to find the owner of the premises or the person in charge and to to take them to task legally.
Yeah, Aurora declare that the Gardy do not have a power here, but stop creating the illusion that the Gardy can do something about us, when in fact all we can do is encourage and police by consent. And that's as limited as we can be with us.
All right, Anthony, thank you very much for joining us. The general secretary of the Association of God, the sergeants and inspectors, Antoinette Cunningham.