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Portobello Closed For Cans Because Of 'Antisocial Behaviour'

Portobello Closed For Cans Because Of 'Antisocial Behaviour'
By Donny Mahoney
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We've had a long, miserable winter without pubs, and we still have another month to go before they return. In Dublin, the upturn in the weather in the past few weeks has seen an increase in gatherings in public places like around Portobello or the Royal Canal in Phibsboro. It's still weird to see other people, but it's necessary. And the science seems to say that outdoor gatherings are generally safe.

Today Dubliners have been denied access to one of its most beloved - and biggest - outdoor areas for socialising.

The Dublin City Council has this morning banned cans at Portobello for the weekend, and possibly longer. It says the square will be closed for non-residents until Monday afternoon.

The area around the Grand Canal at Portabello has become ground zero for warm-weather southside shenanigans in recent years, making it possibly Ireland's ultimate bag of cans destination. It's one of the most picturesque areas of the nation's capital to loiter on a warm evening but its popularity has become its downfall. It's unclear why there are no public toilets at Portobello - especially with pubs closed - but the lack of facilities has turned one of Dublin's toniest neighbourhoods into a kip during summer nights.

Portobello Can Ban

Ahead of the weekend, the Dublin City Council has announced that cans - and gathering in general - will no longer be permitted at an area now dubbed 'Portobello Plaza'.


In a statement, it said:

“Dublin City Council is very aware of the importance of public spaces in recent times but some behaviour at this location in recent weeks has been completely unacceptable. Up to a thousand people have congregated in the area on recent weekends, without due regard for Covid-19 restrictions."

“The associated anti-social behaviour is having a hugely detrimental effect on both the local community and the environment/”

The council added that the “the situation will be reviewed next week” and that "anyone found consuming alcohol outdoors in a public space may be fined”.

What will the outcome of this be? It won't stop people from socialising outdoors. It will just send people to sketchier spots up and down the canal, or worse, to the house parties that the HSE is constantly railing against. The canal is one of the few places that Dubliners can gather at nighttime.


It's the kind of short-sighted approach to urban planning that has seen the city carved up by unneeded hotel development and sparked the exodus of the city's creative class.

No one's saying the kind of bedlam that's taken place at Portobello recently should be allowed. If the council decided it could not manage this situation - by limiting the people allowed in or providing toilets - it could at least provide alternative public spaces where people can gather during this bizarre time.

That kind of planning seems beyond the people that run this town, which will surprise no one who's lived in Dublin over the past decade.


SEE ALSO: Is Somebody Hacking Our Weather Apps To Stop Us Drinking Bags Of Cans?

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