Ballymahon publican fined for after hours

Gardaí discovered patrons in bar in the early hours of the morning

Longford Leader

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Road accident case comes to abrupt end in court

A man who appeared at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court charged in connection with having a public house open after hours was convicted and fined €250 following a hearing into the matter.

Stephen Cooney, Mostrim Road, Ballymahon, Co Longford, who was represented by his father Michael at the court sitting, was charged before the court with being the holder of a licence in respect of a premises, who did unlawfully permit patrons to be on the premises at a time prohibited by the licensing acts at Cooney’s Hotel, Ballymahon on April 9, 2017.

Outlining the evidence to the court, Inspector Bláithín Moran said that on the date in question, in the early hours of the morning, gardaí discovered a number of people in Cooney’s Bar in Ballymahon town.

“There were fresh drinks in front of them,” she added.

“Eventually, the publican did cooperate with gardaí.”

Meanwhile, in mitigation, the defendant’s solicitor Frank Gearty said his client had been in touch with the Gardaí since the incident and had apologised for what had happened.

“On the night,” said the local solicitor, “some of the patrons were customers while others were residents.”

Mr Gearty went on to say that it wasn’t a special occasion that merited a special licence that night, although a number of events had taken place at the hotel.

“People were attending from the UK for a local funeral and there were 21 people staying in the hotel that night,” he continued.

“There was a function on where over 200 people were in attendance - so there were a lot of people on the premises that night and staff had it all cleaned down to those few customers that were left.”

The court then heard that taxis were slow in the Ballymahon area on Saturday nights and the customers that were found on Cooney’s premises were in fact waiting for collection.

Mr Cooney then addressed Judge Hughes and told him that one of the customers on the premises that night wasn’t even drinking.

“He is a lifelong pioneer and I know that for a fact,” he added.

Meanwhile, during his deliberations on the matter, Judge Hughes said that he found Stephen Cooney’s behaviour towards the Gardaí “ unacceptable”.

“Mr Cooney cannot carry on like that towards the Gardaí; they have a job to do,” he added before convicting the defendant and fining him accordingly.