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Proposal To Crack Down On South Side Irish Parade Drunkards Passes City Council Committee

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 7, 2013 10:00PM

Do folks in Beverly really want a return of this? (Photo by Ron Reason.

An ordinance introduced last November by Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) to ensure the South Side Irish Parade stays Chi-rish free passed the City Council Police Committee Wednesday. If approved by the full City Council, anyone caught drinking in the public way within 200 feet of a parade could see fines ranging from $500-$1,000 and up to 10 days in jail.

O’Shea proposed the tougher restrictions after the South Side Irish Parade made a successful return to its family-friendly roots last year, after a three-year absence brought on by growing crowds and increasing incidents drunken buffoonery overshadowed the parade. O’Shea told the Sun-Times his vigilance is intended “to make sure that a bad element doesn’t come back to our neighborhood. To make sure this event stays a celebration of faith, family and heritage.”

That bad element: North side revelers who begin binge drinking hours before the parade. The South Side Irish Parade Committee worked with O’Hea’s office and the city to keep a lid on bad behavior. They hired private security to work with Chicago Police in setting up checkpoints and confiscating liquor. Metra banned passengers from bringing alcohol on the Rock Island Line that services Beverly on the day of the parade. Most importantly, north side bars were discouraged from busing loads of blitzed patrons to the parade and those that did run shuttles were corralled into drop-off points.

O’Shea had an ally in pushing for the tougher restrictions in South Side Irish Parade Committee Co-Chair Joe Connelly, who told the Sun-Times “We want to make sure we take no steps backward.”