Pub bingo sessions closed down by gardaí
on 31/08/2013 00:00:00
Two Garda sergeants then visited several pubs in recent days to ensure that the plug had been pulled on the games.
Supt Con Cadogan said gardaí had to enforce the law, but did so in a "fair and balanced manner".
"We wanted to be fair to the publicans so we contacted them first and advised them of the law, and advised them to stop the bingo," he said. "We then visited some premises to ensure they were complying with the law. Our duty is to enforce the law and, in fairness to the publicans, they recognised that."
He said he can understand why some of the customers have been upset by the move, but he said gardaí had to enforce the law.
The Templeacre Tavern, the Top of the Hill, The Glenryan Tavern, The Joshua Tree, and The High House all staged bingo games.
Ashley O'Callaghan, who runs The High House on Blarney Rd, said the small weekly bingo sessions had been running in his pub for about eight years.
"It has been a very successful event over that time," he said. "It attracted a more mature crowd and created a lovely relaxed atmosphere in the pub. It would finish up with a sing-song afterwards."
The bingo sessions have, over the years, helped raise funds for several local sporting clubs and charitable organisations, including St Vincent's Camogie Club, the Shandon View Leukaemia Fund, Marymount Hospice, and Blairs Hill nursing home.
Mr O'Callaghan said he accepts the law and that gardaí had to act to enforce it.
It is understood the Cork branch of the Irish Vintners Association has been asked to explore a possible compromise.
Local Sinn Féin councillor Thomas Gould expressed disappointment that gardaí had moved to end the bingo sessions.
"I'd say nearly 80% of pubs on the northside would have bingo," he said. "These pubs are in areas with an older population and the bingo was more of a social outlet for these people. The games were small and short, with a maximum of about 40 players, and a fairly small prize fund."
He called for a review of the gaming and lotteries legislation amid concerns that local sports organisations and charities, which have benefited financially from pub bingo, would not lose out on a valuable source of income.
It is understood that some publicans may consider approaching charity partners, who can apply for a bingo licence, in the hope that the pub bingo could resume.