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I am a sociologist interested in issues of inclusion and exclusion in Irish society and the management of spoilt identity.
I am interested in hearing of the circumstances under which people have been barred from public houses in this country and the consequences thereof. Being barred, especially from a favourite pub, can be a deeply disturbing, traumatic and embarrassing event for a person. It can often happen as a consequence of vulnerability, challenge or threat that is being experienced by a person in their life or other chronic underlying factors.
Publicans are not sufficiently sensitive or knowledgeable to enable them to understand such matters so that even one minor event, often arising from a miscommunication, may be sufficient to incur summary debarment. These events in most cases are so minor as to not even warrant the attention of the gardaí, and yet a person may end up being barred effectively for life. This is grossly unjust and degrading and can pose serious long-term mental health problems for the person concerned. All matters that are serious enough to go before the bench have at least a time limit imposed by which time the offence can be discharged. Not so in the case of a pub debarment which is always at the whim of the bar owner or manager.
I am asking people who feel they have suffered unfairly as a result of this arbitrary and unregulated form of punishment to contact me with their stories. My intention is to examine as many case studies as I receive to produce an account of this phenomenon in contemporary Ireland so as propose a number of recommendations whereby, through a process of mediation, offending parties and pub owners may be reconciled and rehabilitation of the original offence can occur.
Dr Paul A Stokes
School of Sociology
University College Dublin
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