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I WRITE with a certain amount of regret at the attitude of Mallow GAA to non-drinkers as portrayed by local management at a function held to celebrate the official opening of their magnificent new complex at Carrigoon recently.
My wife and I, both life-long teetotallers, attended a concert featuring Liam O’Connor and his troupe to mark the opening of the complex.
We had looked forward to this treat as we had seen O’Connor advertised for his summer season in Killarney at, I think, €35.
The tickets were €50 for the GAA function in Mallow, however, but as there was a cheese and wine reception involved I assumed the extra cost was to cover this.
Being a careful person, I asked at reception when I picked up my tickets if there would be free soft drinks available for non-drinkers. I was assured there would be. I have attended some cheese and wine functions in the past and have been served the usual much-diluted orange or lemon concentrate which I have been happy to accept as it is a soft drink. At other venues this was usually available in jugs to self-dispense, so we expected more or less the same formula that evening.
But it was not to be — no soft drinks of any description were freely available in lieu of the free wine. Having spoken to a manager who, I presume, was quoting club policy, we were told, in effect, if you want soft drinks you must pay for them at bar prices.
If we wanted wine, no problem as the GAA club was getting that for nothing and it was freely (no pun intended) available. I pointed out to the manager how I had been assured we would get a free soft drink when we booked and that I felt we, and no doubt many other non-drinkers present, were being discriminated against by an organisation which has influence over many young people because we did not take alcoholic drink.
At approximately 9pm, in the middle of truly spectacular concert, I finally received my bottle of orange and a glass — victory but at the cost of some embarrassment to my wife and I.
In fact the first 90 minutes of the show were blighted for us by an incident which need never have happened.
This experience has coloured my attitude to the local club and I can assure the organisers of any future events involving cheese and wine that unless they end their discrimination against us teetotallers, they will not get my hard-earned money.
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