27 Jun 2022

No conviction for bar manager charged with breach of Covid regulations

The defendant was ordered to pay €500 to charity

Donegal Town Courthouse

Donegal Town Courthouse. PHOTO: Siobhán McNamara

A man who was managing a bar owned by his father has escaped conviction for having customers on the premises during Covid-19 restrictions.

Damien McIntyre, 48, of Main Street, Dunkineely was ordered to make a €500 charitable donation to Solace Cancer Support Centre in Donegal Town.

He pleaded guilty to breaching Covid-19 health regulations at Mac’s Bar, Dunkineely, on November 21, 2020. 

Sergeant Thomas Griffin of Ballyshannon Garda Station told Wednesday’s sitting of Donegal District Court that an inspection was carried out at 9.50pm.

“Gardaí tried to gain entry at the front,” said Sergeant Griffin. 

“A number of persons could be seen at the back. When gardaí gained entry, they spoke to Mr McIntrye who initially denied having persons on the premises, but he then admitted it.”

Solicitor John Anderson said his client took regulations seriously. But he had a bill for €4,500 for business insurance and wasn’t able to open because of the legislation regarding Covid-19 restrictions at the time.

“It was only a few people in his premises,” said Mr Anderson.

"The two men are a long time in the trade. They have no previous convictions and never had any issue with the licence.”

Judge Deirdre Gearty agreed to the solicitor’s request to deal with the matter by way of a charitable donation. 

“But,” she stressed, “this is not just a slap on the wrist. 

“The Covid regulations that were in place, people were adhering to them very seriously around the country. 

“It was a time of extraordinary difficulty especially for older people. I take a very dim view of people in pubs ignoring the whole thing.”

Mr Anderson said his client was taking the situation very seriously.

“He does apologise to the court,” added the solicitor.

Before the court sitting ended, €500 was paid to Solas Cancer Support Centre and the case was struck out. 

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