The organisers of the annual Kinsale Rugby Sevens tournament have been ordered by a Judge to place special signs at the rugby grounds and in the town to remind people of the consequences of being caught with drugs, following a spate of prosecutions for cocaine possession at previous editions of the event.
The special condition was directed by Judge James McNulty, with prototypes of the signage shown to the gardaí and the solicitor for Kinsale Rugby Club in Bandon District on Thursday.
The event returns at the end of April following a pandemic-related absence, with the organisers agreeing to the conditions allowing for the special licence to be granted.
In setting out the conditions Judge McNulty referred to “the ABC” - “awareness, boundaries, and consequences”.
It follows a number of prosecutions arising out of previous Sevens tournaments in the town, in which people attending the event were later convicted of possession of cocaine.
Judge McNulty said: “While we are not dealing with children, we are dealing with young adults and just like older adults they need to be aware of the boundaries and the consequences.
“Given the history of offending in and around this event, primarily the misuse of drugs, the court wishes to heighten awareness of the law as it is.”
Examples of the finished signage, described as prototypes, were provided by the judge to the solicitor for the event organisers, Tony Greenway, and Sgt Paul Kelly, outlining how a drugs conviction could impact on an individual’s future career prospects and travel plans.
Judge McNulty said it was hoped they would deter young people from irresponsible drug use, “which I have previously observed, makes millionaires out of thugs”.
The Judge directed that the signs be prominently displayed at the Sevens event and suggested that Gardai may also wish to have them displayed in the town centre.
“They can arrange to display it wherever they see fit,” Judge McNulty said.
Mr Greenway said the organisers of the event were “totally willing” to comply with the court’s directions and will foot the printing costs and any related costs, such as the ultimate removal of the signs.
The Sevens event is due to be held on April 29th and April 30th. It regularly attracts thousands of visitors to the town.