Publican cleared of trading after hours

THE owner of a Portarlington pub had a charge of selling alcohol out of hours dismissed at the recent district court.

THE owner of a Portarlington pub had a charge of selling alcohol out of hours dismissed at the recent district court.

Paul Martin, of 25 Crann Nua, Carrickmacross, Monaghan, pleaded not guilty to the charge, at the Weigh Bridge Inn, Market Sq, Portarlington, on May 27, 2012.

Garda Michael Carey gave evidence that he heard loud music and voices coming from the pub at 3.25am, so he knocked on the door. There was a delay in answering and the garda said he heard footsteps going up the stairs inside the building. When the door was opened the garda was met by the manager, Mihai Bursc, who told the garda he was cleaning up for the night. Garda Carey said he discovered a number of people upstairs with alcohol and Mr Bursc admitted they’d been drinking and had gone upstairs.

The defendant, Paul Martin took the stand. He told the court that he is the owner and licensee of the bar and he said he was one of the people upstairs on the night. He said that he was on the premises with family members for a going away party in the bar and they had then gone upstairs, where they were all staying for the night.

“We didn’t even speak to the garda,” he said.

Inspector Martin Harrington asked him why, as the owner, he hadn’t felt he should have given the garda an explanation on the night.

“He didn’t ask,” said Mr Martin.

“All of these people were residing on the premises?” asked Insp Harrington.

“Just on that night,” replied Mr Martin.

Defence, Mr Declan Breen pointed out that there are exceptions under law for people to be permitted on licensed premises after hours, including the owner and staff and both permanent and temporary residents.

Judge Catherine Staines dismissed the case.