The Irish World Heritage Center has vowed to make changes to improve safety after a ‘violent brawl’ broke out following Manchester’s St Patrick’s Day parade last month. It led to an NHS volunteer getting her teeth ‘knocked out’.
Following a full review, the Manchester City Council licensing panel decided that this was an ‘isolated incident’ and were satisfied that effective steps had been taken to prevent future problems of this nature. Speaking after the hearing on April 8, trustee for the center Martin Connolly said: “This means we can reopen safely. We have reviewed our procedures and now we can go back to being a family oriented center that we were before and we will be on guard for any trouble in the future.
“This was an isolated incident as the police and the committee said. This has not happened in a very long time, this was isolated.
“How often does that happen on a night out? It doesn’t.
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“That happened in an instant over nothing. Two people were arguing, next thing you know a punch is thrown and 20 or so people dive in.
“The staff were shocked and were concerned by all the behaviour. We now have a new regime, and for us the safety of staff and customers is paramount.”
The CCTV footage from the Cheetham Hill center during the events of March 17 shows a man with blood running down his face, some people throwing chairs and an ‘elderly female’ being punched in the face. The woman, understood to have been an NHS volunteer who helped with the vaccination programme, had her teeth ‘knocked out’, a police officer said.
Officers were called to the center off Queens Road at around 11pm after reports of ‘over 40 travelers fighting’ and throwing chairs and glasses, GMP representative Alan Isherwood told the licensing panel. There were also reports of vehicles crashing into each other in the car park as well as weapons being present – however firearms officers in attendance saw no evidence of this.
The incident was brought under control by 11.22pm, according to the police report, and officers started sweeping the building to look for injured victims. Following the incident, their alcohol license was suspended prior to the full review hearing.
The Irish center had their license modified to include CCTV requirements as well as regular security presence at the venue. Barrister David Pojur, representing the applicants at the hearing, said: “The people who attended that day are now barred and will not be allowed back.
“This is an important community center and is a community hub for local people and we want it to operate in a safe and secure manner. This is a one off and cannot be repeated and anyone now going into the premises is going to be checked from now on.”
Regular security staff, better communication with Bridgewater Security, CCTV, shutters on bars, as well as a 7pm curfew for children in the bar are all steps taken by the center to improve safety and security, the panel heard.
These measures were agreed upon following a meeting between representatives from GMP and the Irish center held privately.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.