GARDAÍ in Bandon have said that they will be taking a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to underage drinking at this weekend’s Bandon Music Festival.
The festival, which is being held for the first time since 2019 sees ‘Wild Youth’ and ‘The Frank & Walters’ headline the weekend festival stage at Emmet Row.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Insp Dave Callaghan of Bandon Garda Station said they are in the final stages of preparing their policing plan for the weekend festival and they will be taking a zero tolerance stance to under age drinking, breaches to liquor licencing and road traffic offences. He said that extra uniform gardaí will be on duty over the weekend and they will be supported by members attached to the divisional drugs and crime units, as well as members of the Roads Policing Unit.
‘We have already contacted bus companies who may be transporting teenagers to Bandon and all buses coming into the town will be searched and any drink or illegal drugs found by under age people will be seized,’ said Insp Callaghan.
‘We have also been liaising with the festival committee, publicans, security personnel and bus companies over the past few weeks and to ensure that no underage drinking will be taking places in licensed premises either.’
Parents will be required to attend Bandon Garda Station in order to collect any person under the age of 18-years-old found by gardaí to be drunk, in possession of alcohol or controlled drugs. Previous incidents involving large groups of youths arriving into Bandon in a drunken state created a significant risk and was not only dangerous to the youths themselves but it puts extra unnecessary pressure on gardaí and other emergency service.
Insp Callaghan added that they had a very successful festival in 2019 when they also took a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to underage drinking and searched any buses coming into town.
This follows from the 2018 festival which saw gardaí arrest 11 people –predominantly juvenile – for drunkenness and public order offences, with gardaí at the time calling on parents to take responsibility for their teenagers.
Patrons attending the festival are also asked to ensure that they have arrangements in place to get home if travelling distances to Bandon.
'This festival has a good reputation of being a family friendly event and both gardaí and the organising committee will be making an effort to ensure that this ethos remains in place throughout the weekend.'