Wetherspoons to tackle drunkenness and disorderly behaviour

A judge has heard how a British pub group plans to tackle drunkenness and disorderly behaviour in Ireland.

The court has also heard of its measures to prevent the sale of alcohol to the under-aged.

Barrister Constance Cassidy, SC, handed in a protocol to the Circuit Civil Court when JD Wetherspoon Ireland Limited, which plans to open 30 pubs in Ireland, was granted a declaratory order for an extended drinks licence at the Three Tun Tavern. Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Ms Cassidy, who appeared with Nicola-Jane Andrews for Wetherspoons, told Judge Matthew Deery there was a very strong emphasis on food from 8am to 11pm, which was a crucial part of the company’s business.

Judge Deery granted the company a declaratory order for the extended premises at Temple Rd, Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, which means that should all development be completed in accordance with planning permission, the newly enlarged area will automatically receive a drinks licence.

Ms Cassidy told the court that the premises previously operated as the Tonic Bar. The company had since spent €2.3m on refurbishment.

Alistair Broome, regional general manager of JD Wetherspoon PLC and responsible for the operation of the company’s premises in Ireland, had prepared the protocol in which he had outlined the company’s plans. He said the company’s proof-of-age policies would be actively promoted within The Three Tun Tavern including operation of a mystery visitor programme to test the effectiveness of its under-age policy.

Mr Broome also told the court the company took numerous positive steps to ensure that, under its “prevention of drunkenness and disorderly behaviour regime”, facilities and promotions offered in its pubs did not encourage excessive consumption of alcohol.

All of their staff were provided with intensive induction and refresher training on its ‘Don’t Do Drunk’ policy, which was designed to ensure that alcohol was not served to anyone who appeared to be drunk.

“Our employees are trained to continually assess the state of sobriety of any customer purchasing alcoholic drinks or consuming alcohol within the premises,” the protocol stated.

The company monitored the effectiveness of this training by reviewing the use of the ‘refusal’ button on the till system which had to be pressed when a customer was refused alcohol.

Mr Broome stated that JD Wetherspoon operates 924 pubs throughout the North, England, Wales, and Scotland. Wetherspoon Ireland Limited is currently involved in a prices dispute with Diageo and for the time being will not stock any Diageo-distributed products such as draught Guinness, Budweiser, Carlsberg, and Smithwicks.

Chairman Tim Martin said Wetherspoons had baulked at paying a higher price for Guinness in Ireland than it did in Britain.


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