A judge has said he doesn’t want to see fatalities resulting from drugs ingestion, or the name of West Cork to be stained, during the Kinsale 7s rugby event.
Judge McNulty was making the comments while hearing a licensing application for the event.
Over €11,000 worth of drugs were seized at last year’s event and 29 people were arrested for numerous offences, including public order and drugs possession.
A large number of cases regarding cocaine use and supply have come before local courts in recent months, arising out of last year’s Kinsale 7s.
Organisers and sponsors of the festival were asked by the judge to contribute to public order notices and adverts aimed at those attending over the May bank holiday weekend.
Judge James McNulty made the suggestion at Bandon District Court last week during the application for special licences for the event.
Solicitor Tony Greenway said this event is the main fundraiser for the club and that anyone attending Kinsale 7s must be over 18, must register and get a wristband.
He agreed that the message has gone out in the media recently about the consequences of drug possession and said warning signs at the registration tent could be an option.
Judge McNulty said that previously there were difficulties with teenage discos and in that instance they set up new arrangements and protocols with terms and conditions and that in this case something along those lines was needed too.
He was referring to the case of the disco at Bandon Rugby Club in February 2018 which a local doctor said resulted in two young people being ‘near death’ due to alcohol ingestion.
As a result, strict guidelines were introduced for teenage discos in West Cork, resulting in parents having to sign consent forms in order to secure tickets.
‘I don’t want the good name of Kinsale or Kinsale Rugby Club, or West Cork for that matter, to be stained or shamed by a one-punch fatality or a bad batch or cluster of fatalities as a consequence of young adults congesting god-knows-what from god-knows-where,’ said Judge McNulty.
He acknowledged that it is a major fundraiser for Kinsale Ruby Club and but added that it also a big earner for the sponsors and a major opportunity to promote their product.
‘If you take the profits from sales and promotion of your products, then there is the old principle of equity – ‘he who takes benefit must also take burden.’
Judge McNulty said he would expect the club to contribute to public order and safety notices because of the numbers attending this event.
‘It’s back to ABC – advertising, boundaries and consequences – and if a club and sponsor can spend thousands of euro advertising, then they can contribute to the costs of advertising boundaries and consequences.’
He also said that organisers should include public order communication through signage in and around Kinsale, and specifically at the site itself, and also added that both electronic and social media should also be used to communicate the messages.
‘Go back to your clients and ask for a commitment on their part to assist with ABC,’ said Judge McNulty.
Judge McNulty said he wants the event to proceed safely.
He adjourned the matter for two weeks to allow club officers furnish the court with their proposals.