By Patrick Markey
It’s a hard time to be in the brothel business, especially in Dublin.
Ever since the Censorship of Publications Board cracked down on publications carrying ads for massage parlors, things just haven’t been the same.
According to the Examiner newspaper, gardaí in Dublin and Cork report a significant drop in business at the brothel end of prostitution.
One senior Dublin officer told the paper the inability of brothel owners to market their services was having an impact on business.
"Business is back big time for a lot of them but the type of girls involved have not gone onto the street. They seem to be surviving on business from regular clients," he said.
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Cork gardaí have noticed a similar trend. "They are unable to attract new punters and there has been a big drop in business," one Cork garda officer said.
But pimps and brothel keepers are in for more trouble as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation starts its investigation into the nation’s sex industry. In August, Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne began a crackdown on the illegal sex industry, spearheaded by NBCI.
Chain or no chain Brendan Keating wasn’t going to pay up.
Limerick city manager Keating recently had his city chain stolen. And the robbers were looking to make easy cash, threatening to destroy the ceremonial links unless he paid.
Now Keating has the chains back but has found himself at the center of some nasty ransom payoff rumors.
The Limerick Leader newspaper reported recently that Keating has denied that the city corporation forked out £1,500 for the return of the chain taken from another politician’s house earlier this year.
Keating said that the Corporation "strongly refutes any suggestion of monies being paid or even considered to be paid in circumstances of this nature."
One city leader told the paper: "Shortly after the chain was taken, people associated with the theft contacted me. I’m well aware of the circumstances of how the chain was taken. These people contacted me and said that they would give it back for £1,500. Otherwise, they would melt it down."
The tabloid Sunday World claimed that the £1,500 was paid but a garda spokesman said: "As far as we’re aware, the chain was posted back to Mr. O’Hanlon. We are not aware of any payment being made."
Going, going, gone . . .
Virtual auctions are all the rage but last week one sale sparked massive interest — the internet auction of a million dollar Dublin bar.
The sale might have been through cyberspace but the price was most definitely of this earth: a tidy $3.35 million for Smyth’s Bar on Dublin’s exclusive Haddington Road.
The Examiner newspaper reports that more than 5,000 spectators watched the auction live with countless others tuning in on their computers to watch the sale live through the internet.
Smyth’s famed pub was sold under the hammer to an undisclosed Dublin publican for well over the £2.5 million price guide.
Bidding opened at £2 million and rose ever upward to close out at the £3.35 million mark, a strong price for the premises and one reflecting Dublin bar demand and Smyth’s unique place in pub and sporting lore.
According to Kevin Quinn of the Internet Broadcasting Company, the live broadcast marked the first step in Irish interactive commercial auctioneering.
"This technology is hugely successful and influential in property markets around the world, particularly in the US," Quinn said.
"It will open the market to a whole new range of bidders. It is only a mater of time before all Irish property companies see the merits of live event webcasting and adopt the technology," he said.