As a proud son of Puck, I challenge Dr. Loftus to produce evidence
that supports his outrageous implication in his letter of July 28th
that Killorglin has a disproportion rate of homicides, road traffic
deaths, rapes and suicides as a consequence of hosting Puck Fair.
As a former coroner I would have expected Dr. Loftus to base his
argument on the particular facts of the case rather than producing a
generalised rant impugning the reputation of the town I grew up in.
Dr. Loftus’ failure to wait until he had read the facts before
forming his opinion is exemplified by his misquoting of Judge
O’Connor as saying he had “walked the streets of
Caherciveen at 2.30am and observed no thuggery” when the judge
had explicitly referred to Killorglin in the report of July 20th.
The Gardai are not Killorglin Gardai as Dr. Loftus states but rather
the district authorities for the region as Killorglin, in contrast to
Caherciveen, is serviced by a mere “Green Man” for the
much of the time. The concerns of the Gardai appear more directed at
operational and budgetary concerns regarding overtime than any real
concerns about a higher rate of crime during the festival. Had it
been otherwise they would have produced the statistics in court to
back up their argument. As they did not, it is not.
Puck Fair in contrast to many other summer festivals is a working
fair. Considerable entertainment is laid on in the open air; yet the
nature of the Irish summer means much of the craic and ceol is
naturally to be found indoors. I would contend that if the
arrangement agreed 31 years ago which saw the introduction of 3am
closing at Puck is to be revisited at all then a return to the
original situation whereby pubs could open continuously for the full
3 days should be given consideration. What is needed in addressing
alcohol abuse is not the simplistic abstention versus overindulgence
argument that Dr. Loftus is espousing but a renewal of the practice
of social drinking; where drinking is not the purpose of the
socialisation but something that merely accompanies it.
I would ask the good Dr. to apologise to the people of Killorglin and
I would urge people to come to Puck and enjoy the craic; with or
without a drink but always with a smile.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I wrote this to Madam in response to a letter from Dr. Mick Loftus in last Saturday's Irish Times