Last days of disco

Ed Power on the slow death of the Ir­ish night­club.

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE - CONOR GAL­LAGHER Crime Cor­re­spon­dent

From a polic­ing point of view the de­cline of the night­club, in Dublin at least, has had lit­tle af­fect on the night­time crime rate.

In fact there is some ev­i­dence to show nightlife re­lated of­fend­ing such as as­saults, drugs and pub­lic or­der has in­creased in re­cent years.

Ac­cord­ing to Dublin city Coun­cil­lor Man­nix Flynn this is be­cause peo­ple are still go­ing out – in fact be­cause of the eco­nomic re­cov­ery more peo­ple than ever are hit­ting the tiles – they’re just do­ing it dif­fer­ently.

In­stead of go­ing to night­clubs, they’re go­ing to bars and cafe bars which have late li­censes. While many of these venues have dance floors, danc­ing is not the fo­cus.

“You’re look­ing at a lot more drink­ing and a lot more drug tak­ing in these places.”

Flynn, who sits on the in­ner city Joint Polic­ing Com­mit­tee says peo­ple are danc­ing less and drink­ing more, lead­ing to prob­lems after clos­ing such as fight­ing and pub­lic or­der in­ci­dents.

“Peo­ple aren’t go­ing out to dance any more. That’s all changed. As­saults and pub­lic or­der are ac­tu­ally worse be­cause they are in­volv­ing a lot more peo­ple. It’s night life but it’s not night life club­bing.”

A rise in drug ar­rests, par­tic­u­larly for co­caine pos­ses­sion, has also been seen in re­cent years. Co­caine con­sump­tion is in­creas­ing in ev­ery town in the coun­try and the de­cline of the night­club has done noth­ing to slow it.

“Co­caine is a drug more suited for pubs and late bars rather than clubs. Peo­ple nip off to the toi­let to do a lit­tle be­tween rounds. With clubs the fo­cus is al­ways on

ec­stasy,” said a mem­ber of a Garda drugs team in Dublin.

Ar­rests re­lat­ing to ec­stasy have fallen sig­nif­i­cantly in re­cent years while ar­rests in re­la­tion to co­caine have in­creased.

Peo­ple are also “far more likely” to get into fights on co­caine, fur­ther driv­ing up the ar­rest fig­ures, the Garda said.

Dublin has also seen a in­crease in il­le­gal raves in the last five years but Garda sources say these are not much of a prob­lem from a pub­lic or­der point of view.

“The feel­ing is they’re a dif­fer­ent type of crowd. They don’t seem to drink as much,” a Garda based in Pearse Street said.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: DAVID WHITE PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

“Peo­ple aren’t go­ing out to dance any more. That’s all changed. As­saults and pub­lic or­der are ac­tu­ally worse be­cause they are in­volv­ing a lot more peo­ple. It’s night life but it’s not night life club­bing.”

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