A pub owner, his staff, and customers in Kilkenny have been consistently harassed by gardaí who want their business to go to another premises, it was claimed in the Dáil.
Independent TD Mick Wallace read out a written account from the owner of The Field Bar in High St, Kilkenny, about problems he has had with the force since he bought the pub after moving home from the US in 2007.
“We are at a loss to know what we did to deserve this treatment, but fully believe it is motivated by a desire to unlawfully force our customer base to go to other premises, so this process of nuisance has a purpose,” he said.
The pub owner claims that, last June, a “visibly irate” garda entered the premises to ask that the tables outside be brought “in from the street”. When his wife questioned the garda, she was told to “shut up”.
In August, a customer, who had been barred was being spoken to by the doorman when he, “in plain sight”, pepper-sprayed another customer “and proceeded to threaten people”, Mr Wallace claimed.
“The guards were called in relation to this matter, but never arrived. Two hours later, when the bar was closed and cleared, a single female guard came to the back door of the premises and said that they could not have come before they did and were busy with other matters,” he said.
After reading the letter, Mr Wallace said complaints about how gardaí handled cases and treated people “continue to stream into our offices”.
The culture in the force is “dire” and “problematic”, he said. He was speaking during a debate on laws proposed by Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins which would strengthen the powers of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.
The junior Justice Minister, Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, did not respond directly to the allegations, but said that there had been incidents which had shaken the confidence of the public.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved