29 Sept 2022

Former publican in court after 30 people found drinking after hours

Gardaí observed 10 people with full drinks in the smoking area and a further 20 were found with fresh drinks in the bar

Former publican in court after 30 people found drinking after hours

Gardaí found 30 people drinking in a Ballybofey public house after being alerted by noise emanating from the premises.

Sergeant Sean McDaid told the court that Garda Ciaran Finn was on patrol at Glenfin Street, Ballybofey at 1.30am on September 22, 2019.

Garda Finn could hear a group of persons inside McKelvey’s Bar. After entering the premises via the rear door, Garda Finn observed 10 people in the smoking area with full drinks in front of them.

Having entered the bar area, Garda Finn saw ’20 persons or more’ seated. Fresh drinks were in front of patrons, Sergeant McDaid said.

Gardai ordered the licensee, Jim McGowan to put the house in order.

McGowan, aged 50, appeared before Letterkenny District Court charged with six counts contrary to the Intoxicating Liquor Act. McGowan has no previous convictions, the court heard.

Solicitor for McGowan, Mr Kieran Dillon, said his client ‘accepted entirely that he was in the wrong’.

“This was a pre-Covid situation,” Mr Dillon said. “It was a Saturday night, Sunday morning and this was half-an-hour after drink-up time.

“He engaged properly and correctly with Gardaí and the house was cleared up in a very short time.”

Mr Dillon said his client took up the lease in 2017 but, due to the hardship brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic which, he said, ‘completely changed the landscape’, he surrendered the tenancy in 2021.

Judge Éiteáin Cunningham said she would consider the matter before making judgement and adjourned the case until Monday, September 26.

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