Wednesday, 27th June 2012
The Waterford branch of People Before Profit calls on City councillors to re-think the establishing of bye-laws relateing to street drinking.
We believe this problem is a public health one and not an issue to be used as a political football to gain cheap media publicity by some councillors. We therefore believe it would be a grave mistake and serve no useful purpose to vote to bring in such a by-law,at the July council meeting We accept that there was a serious problem at Templars Hall arising mostly from first year students partying at the start of the academic year but this issue has mostly been resolved now, with landlords,student bodies and college authorities taking ownership and responsibility of the problem by adopting in conjunction with residients and the Gardai,a set of proposals and strong code of practice that should eliminate the issue. We accept that alcohol is a key contributor to public order and property crime but believe the proposed bye-laws are a sledge hammer to crack a nut.
Most street drinkers have serious health issues alongside poverty and
homelessness, which mainly derive from Government policies and cut-backs resulting in the closing of psychiatric units and other primary care facilities. Young people on estates often take to "field drinking" due to lack of recreational facilities.
Most street drinkers are on the basic social welfare payment of 188euro and taking fines from this low income will only lead to more poverty and crime as well as driving the street drinking issue underground, resulting in violence and possible deaths. The precedent of taking monies from citizens incomes in the manner proposed could also be used against those opposing household and water charges. It is ironic, given the state of the economy and all the serious issues facing our city that some councillors are most annimated by this issue, which we believe is a reflection of their poverty of philosophy and politics.We call on councillors to reject this proposal and instead look at treating the causes as opposed to the symptoms of street drinking. A start can be made by providing accomondation where people who wish to consume alcohol can do so under regulated conditions, alongside various health care professionals who's aim is towards Rehab and recovery.
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