Minister to summon club and bus operators

ENVIRONMENT Minister Alex Attwood is to summon nightclub owners from across Northern Ireland following an expose on booze-fuelled bus trips to Sense nightclub in Cookstown.

A number of bus operators are also to be summoned in front of the minister who is angry at practises in some clubs.

The move comes after an online video showed young people drinking heavily on board a bus to Cookstown’s Sense nightclub.

On the bus were Sense logos as dozens of young people drank straight from bottles of spirits and one young man drank from a funnel.

In a statement to the Mid Ulster Mail, the Minister confirmed a range of nightclubs and bus operators will be called in from various parts across the north.

“At this stage the Minister will not be indentifying the licensees who will be asked to attend,” said the statement.

“The Minister intends to tell the holders of entertainment licenses about the anger and concern around the practises in some clubs.

“He has instructed officials to identify how now or through new regulations, licensees of nightclub premises would have to comply with further requirements in respect of the management of their premises potentially around issues of public safety, health and welfare.”

The move also comes weeks after the death of 20-year-old Joby Murphy who fell into the River Lagan in Belfast after a heavy drinking session at The Beach nightclub at the Odyssey.

There were calls for cheap drink promotions to be abolished following his death.

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has promised legislation to encourage sensible drinking and limit drinks promotions.