People will be able to make public submissions for the proposed alcohol ban at Ballina Riverside Park for the next month.
The new bylaw would see the park become an alcohol-free zone in a bid to prevent acts of anti-social behaviour and vandalism that the park has be subjected to in recent times.
That’s according to Councillor Phyll Bugler, following incidents of vandalism last year that cost the council upwards of €20,000 to repair, as well as man hours with the Gardaí.
Cllr. Bugler believes the culprits are a combination of young people travelling up from other counties to drink at the park, as well as local youngsters.
“The vandalism is more extensive during the summer months. We have a bus coming from Limerick, the 323, which leaves Limerick City, comes into Birdhill, and then on to Ballina, Portroe, and back into Nenagh. This bus brings a lot of youths out here during the summer months, and we welcome the youths, but they’ll have to leave their crates of beer at home this time. We’re a tourist destination, and we’ve got to look after and protect the amenities that we have.
“The alcohol ban will be strictly enforced by the Gardaí, and that will give them a chance to confiscate all these crates of alcohol that are being brought into Ballina.”
She says she welcomes footfall at Ballina Riverside Park, however, local youth as well as young people traveling down from neighbouring counties are inciting intimidation and damaging property.
Cllr. Bugler says it’s unfair that people who have respected the area won’t be able to enjoy a social drink there anymore.
“I don’t want to stop anyone from drinking a glass of wine or having a beer with their picnic in Ballina, but, unfortunately, the vandalism has gone to such an extent that we had to consider having this bylaw on alcohol on every millimetre of grass in this park.
“It is causing problems when these youths come out from Limerick, we don’t have a Garda station in Killaloe. They’re going into some of the shops on the main street and they’re intimidating people and sometimes robbing sweets and things like that. They might think that they’re small items, but they’re not. If you have one woman standing behind the counter, she can’t control 10 or 12 people.”