herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Charity chief hits out student drinking event

Hundreds lined up the street from 8 am in front of the Hole in the Wall pub to celebrate the Donegal Day in City
Hundreds lined up the street from 8 am in front of the Hole in the Wall pub to celebrate the Donegal Day in City

The head of Barnardos has hit out at an event which saw hundreds of students queue for a pub from the early hours.

Up to 500 students descended on Galway city yesterday to mark so-called Donegal Tuesday, an event taking place during the city's unofficial rag week.

Fergus Finlay, chief executive of Barnardos, who is also involved in the Stop Out of Control Drinking initiative, criticised the event.

Mr Finlay told RTE's Joe Duffy that the event was a perfect example of the unhealthy relationship that exists in Ireland with drink.

Queues

"One of the things we [Stop Out of Control Drinking] wanted to do to be honest was try to hold up a mirror to that deeply unhealthy relationship with drink in Ireland. I don't know if you can hold up a better mirror," he said.

"It's all trackable I think to this idea that we have in Ireland that if there's drink on offer, we're going to be the first in the queue.

"They're the pictures from the early part of the day, the pictures from the later part of the day, you know, won't be easy to look at."

Queues began to form outside the Hole in the Wall pub from as early as 8am with the line of students stretching as far as Eglington Street.

An estimated 500 people had arrived by around 10.30am attempting to gain entrance to the 200 capacity venue. Security staff were on hand to limit the numbers entering the pub.

Students had travelled from all over the country for the event.

Gardai monitored the situation throughout the morning and conducted spot checks on students seeking their identity cards and confiscating alcohol around the city.

However, they stressed there is nothing illegal about the Donegal Tuesday event.

Rag Week was suspended at both NUI, Galway and GMIT after the students' unions voted to disband the event which had attracted an anti-social element in latter years.

hnews@herald.ie

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