PUBS NOT WORTH SHOUTING ABOUT
By DOMINIC FEAIN email@example.com TWO Northern Rivers pubs and a Byron Bay nightclub are among the State's 100 most violent drinking%venues.
But licensees at two of the venues believe they are being unfairly represented.
The list was compiled by police and released only after a Freedom of Information request by Sydney media. It shows the official number of reported violent assaults on hotel premises over nine months from January to September last year.
The Standard Hotel, in Lismore, rated 38th with 15 recorded assaults.
Mary Gilhooleys in Lismore, and Cheeky Monkeys in Byron Bay, rated equal 78th with 11 recorded assaults each over the period.
"It's incredibly frustrating," Mark Daley, licensee and manager of Mary Gilhooleys, said.
"We've been working incredibly hard with police and the Office of Liquor and Gaming to address such problems and then these old statistics that we don't even have access to appear denigrating us."
Mary Gilhooleys is one of the biggest pubs in Lismore and holds a 5am closing licence though management chooses to close at 3.30am.
"We run a strict hotel with seven to nine security staff who refuse entry to at least 30 to 40 each Saturday night, and eject another 50 to 60 people who misbehave or are intoxicated," Mr Daley said.
"We take the laws%very seriously and work hard to abide by them. We place security guards on the street after 2.30am and help people to taxis and buses to get them off the streets and out of trouble.
"I don't see what else we can do." Cheeky Monkeys' licensee Tim Sharman is also disappointed.
"We're very proud of our efforts to reduce alcohol-related incidents," he said.
"Our new management team was personally congratulated by Albert Gardner, the Director of Liquor and Gaming, for reducing these assaults by 82.7 per cent between July 2007 and January.
Cheeky Monkeys is one of Byron Bay's biggest nightclubs and claims it is being unfairly targeted.
"Unlike other clubs in Byron we're open from 7pm to 3am, six days a week, so we will have higher statistics."
The Standard's licensee could not be contacted by The Northern Star yesterday.
Richmond Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Steve Clarke believes pubs and clubs are generally responding well to community programs and strategies.
"I think it's fair to say these licensees are working hard to reduce alcohol-related crime," he said.
"We acknowledge a number of licensed premises may be considered high risk, and as part of our response we launched the Richmond Alcohol Response Task Force last week and we will be working with licensees to reduce alcohol related crime."