Dubliners call time on English stag nights

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The Independent Online
"DADDY, why are those men wearing girls' knickers on their heads?" a baffled toddler asked one Saturday afternoon. "Because they're English," came the weary reply.

Stag parties, Britain's least welcome ambassadors to Ireland, have not impressed residents and businesses in the city's fashionable Temple Bar area. Now even its bars are calling "Time gentlemen please" and have banned such events.

The ban follows estimates that the stag invasion costs the city centre almost pounds 60m a year in lost trade. Although the partygoers bring in revenue for hotels and pubs, businesses reckon they are showing a net loss. Stag and hen events attract about 1 per cent of visitors to Dublin, but deter another 13 per cent, according to a report commissioned by Temple Bar property owners.

Locals have endured the motley crews for years as they sang raucously in bars or tied one another to lamp-posts. But now no more.

The English stag business took off after the first IRA ceasefire in 1994. Some weekends up to 25 rowdy stag and hen parties take over the area, driving locals to seek more civilised sanctuary. Hotel sources spoke of other European tourists fleeing in horror.

Martin Keane, of the Oliver St John Gogarty bar, said: "Publicans in Temple Bar are concerned about the long-term picture. We want to ensure the area will remain attractive to both our local regulars and visitors to the area."

The pubs began excluding the stag/hen invasion last year so lager-laden visitors ended up corralled in the few hostelries willing to admit them. Yesterday, Temple Bar's 35 pubs confirmed they will no longer admit stag and hen customers.

Laura Magahy, managing director of Temple Bar Properties, said: "There is now a groundswell of public opinion against the crude and offensive behaviour often associated with stag and hen parties.

"We have met every licence-holder in the area and are delighted at the immediate action they have taken as a result of the report's findings. There is no reason why this problem cannot be addressed. But it needs clear leadership from the tourism industry to say this is not the kind of business we want for Dublin."

The pubs' move was welcomed by Dublin police.

Assistant Chief Commissioner James McHugh said: "The report correctly identifies the problems associated with these parties in the city of Dublin."

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