FOUR West Cork pubs have been notified by gardai that the playing of bingo on their premises is illegal.
Cork South West Cork Independent TD Michael Collins has raised the issue in the Dail and said this was denying some people a much needed social outing while at the same time ‘opening up a can of worms’ regarding legislation for other activities in pubs.
Deputy Collins said that he is aware that one bar is already challenging the ruling.
Only last month the Government backed down over plans to the Gaming and Lotteries bill over fears that bingo halls could face closure.
‘This is the only social outing for some people and it seems that someone has looked at the small print in the legislation regarding the playing of bingo in licensed premises and reported this to gardaí who have to act on it,’ said Deputy Collins.
‘There are a lot of angry people giving out about this latest move and they are calling me to find out what is happening. I raised it in the Dáil and was told that someone had made a complaint which is being investigated.’
He said that a ‘can of worms has opened up now’ and they won’t be able to shut it.
‘Does this mean that the playing of cards should not be allowed?’ he asked.
Casey’s Bar and Restaurant on Connolly Street in Clonakilty ran weekly bingo sessions on Thursday nights but called a halt to them on December 5th.
On a Facebook post, it said ‘it is with great sadness to announce that we cannot go ahead with bingo until further notice because of gaming legislation.
‘We will try our very best to return bingo as soon as possible as it was our favourite night of the week and we made lifelong friends from our Thursday night social outing.’
Supt Ger O’Mahony of Clonakilty Garda Station told The Southern Star that he is aware that people expressed concern about bingo allegedly being conducted in licensed premises and that gardaí are looking into the matter.