Pub Fest protest goes to Bligh

Catholic priest Paul Kelly.
Catholic priest Paul Kelly.

MARYBOROUGH’S Catholic priest has taken his protest over the June Pub Fest to Premier Anna Bligh.

Father Paul Kelly, who wants the crawl-turned-fest canned, sent a letter to the premier yesterday: “I write to you about concerns about the Maryborough Pub Festival. In this day and age with major concern about the effects of binge drinking, I and many others in the community are concerned about the ongoing advisability about events such as this.

“This year they changed the name from Crawl to Festival but that doesn’t change the essence.

“I am very upset to hear that proposed licensing rules for the event had to be reversed because the participating pubs would not all co-operate.”

Father Kelly wrote to Liquor Licensing on Tuesday and received an almost instant reply defending last week’s reversal of the original decision to only allow mid-strength liquor this year. Fest-goers will now be able to drink full-strength beer.

“Their reply said the decision had to be made as due to legal reasons they were not able to enforce the restrictions on all of the participating premises,” Father Kelly said. “They told me that this would have resulted in some venues being able to sell full-strength liquor and others only mid-strength.”

Father Kelly told the premier it was “very necessary that the government intervenes and passes the necessary laws to ensure that licensing can insist on these requirements”.

“I think this event, the longer it goes on and the more it gets entrenched, could easily continue to increase as a high-risk event and it could attract more and more undesirable attitudes and actions in people.”

Father Kelly said the fest should be put to a public poll. “If councillors don’t like this they could find themselves in a pub with no cheer.”


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