Several Galway publicans have vowed to push ahead with efforts to provide a late-night medical emergency service for the city, despite opposition from the head of the Vintners’ Association.
Galway City VFI Chairman Terry Tyson revealed in last week’s Galway Independent that he and many of the organisation’s members were not in favour of the proposed service, which would see a dedicated ambulance staffed by professional paramedics for late-night medical emergencies.
Mr Tyson claimed the service would “depict Galway as a battlefield” and send a message to the rest of the country that they are likely to “get involved in a fracas” is they visit the city.
However, a number of local publicans were enraged at Mr Tyson’s comments and several meetings were held in the last week to garner support for the service, which would be provided by Cara Ambulance Service.
Speaking to the Galway Independent yesterday, Gary Monroe of Monroe’s Live on Dominick Street confirmed that talks had been held with Mr Tyson on the issue and he was “misinformed” as to the aim of the service.
“When I discussed the benefits and the preventive measures with him, I just said ‘we have to proactive’. When people carried condoms 30 years ago, they were lambasted but now they are promoting them for safe sex,” he said.
Mr Monroe said that many bars in the city, particularly in the West End and Latin Quarter areas, are in full support of the introduction of the service and an information evening will be arranged for local publicans in the coming weeks.
“We just have to go back and inform them properly. It is affordable to the bars and, when they see the benefits of it, they’ll realise it is a great programme,” he explained.
“It’s not always about serious incidents; it could be a trip or a fall or something. It’s just the peace of mind that, God forbid, if there was something, that an ambulance would be around.”
However, Mr Tyson stood over his stance on the issue, adding that more focus should be put on the control of off-license sale of alcohol to avoid ‘pre-loading’ that may contribute to late-night accidents.
“We’re all singing off the same hymn sheet; the only difference is they are trying to gather up enough support to pay for it. My stance is still the same that the publicans shouldn’t have to pay for it, but if a couple of lads want to go off on their own, good and well, but I don’t see the need for it.”
Wayne Gill of Cara Ambulance confirmed that the core working group behind the scheme were continuing to meet and the service should be on the streets of Galway within weeks.
“The service was originally developed to coincide with the Healthy Cities initiative and hoped to offer medical support to all night venues on a group scheme basis. The service is available to hotels, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, cinemas and any other venue working at night where members of the public attend,” he said.
“The Night Medics service is now clearly focused on working with interested parties to develop the service within Galway City and is currently working with numerous parties in the development stages.”