Judge accuses Skibbereen publican of being ‘cavalier with the licensing laws'

June 19th, 2019 10:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

The Tanyard in Skibbereen.

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A SKIBBEREEN publican was caught by gardai twice on the same night with people on the premises after hours after crowds piled in to celebrate the re-match of a famous Castlehaven and Erin’s Isle football game.

Publican, Michael O’Driscoll said he was genuinely surprised when his pub, The Tanyard in Skibbereen, filled up with people celebrating the re-run of the 1998 All-Ireland club semi-final in which Erin’s Isle beat Castlehaven by a controversial goal.

The 20th anniversary match was a charity event and featured some of the original players.

However the real pulling power on the day was the appearance of two former premier league mangers –with Harry Redknapp managing Castlehaven and Gianluca Vialli managing Erin’s Isle.

On August 13th 2018 – a night when the bar should have been closed at 11pm – Sgt Trish O’Sullivan said Gda Karen O’Flynn carried out an inspection at 1.14am and found a large crowd inside and when she returned, 35-minutes later, there were still people there. 

These charges were, however, withdrawn by the State.

Michael O’Driscoll, who has nine previous convictions dating back to 2005 and 2015, was fined a total of €4,500 by the judge who accused him of being ‘cavalier about complying with the licensing laws.’ 

The first of three €1,500 penalties – as well as the endorsement – was imposed in respect of the sale of alcohol at a prohibited time. 

The second fine was for keeping the bar open for the sale of alcohol; and the third was for permitting alcohol to be consumed on the premises.

The remaining three charges were marked ‘proved and taken into consideration’ and Judge McNulty gave the accused 90 days to pay the €4,500.

‘If you think it is too severe,’ the judge told the defence solicitor, Liam O’Donovan, ‘you can appeal.’

Mr O’Donovan had offered a guilty plea on behalf of his client and, in mitigation, he said: ‘It was not a case of making hay while the sun shines. My client was simply unprepared for such a large crowd. They arrived ‘en masse’ and it ran over hours.’

The solicitor said it was raining heavily that night and the group were being ferried in dribs and drabs to local B&Bs, all of which meant it took him longer than usual to clear the bar. 

He said his client, who has owned the bar since 1999, is one of the few establishments in Skibbereen that regularly applies for special exemptions. 

And, he said like all modern businesses, there are banks in the background, money is tight, and the overheads are high.

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