Judge refuses Garda objections and grants Donegal nightclub a Christmas night license

December 16, 2017

A Judge has saved Christmas for hundreds of revelers after he granted a premises the only drinks license for Donegal for Christmas night.

The Limelight Nightclub in Glenties had been refused the license to open at a minute past midnight in the early hours of December 26th.

It followed objections by Gardai who claimed the venue would become a magnet for hundreds of drunken festive party-goers from counties Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo.

Garda Superintendent Colin Nevin said if the license was granted, his officers would come under severe pressure with the arrival of ‘boy racers’ into the town as well as people urinating on the streets.

He said if there were arrests, other officers would have to be called in from other areas.

However, a Judge has dramatically granted the exemption for the license which will allow up to 1,600 seasonal socialisers to party from 12.01am until 2.30am on December 26th.

Judge John Aylmer heard at Letterkenny Circuit Court how the Limelight could cater for up to 1,600 people on Christmas night.

Owner and well-known rally driver Declan Boyle said Christmas night was always a traditional night for socialising in the town and that pubs and clubs had suffered badly during the recession.

He said there was a tradition in the area of people meeting up on Christmas night.

“That is the tradition. The Limelight in Glenties always got the crowd. We need to try and get it back,” he said.

Judge Aylmer was told that Christmas night exemptions had not been granted anywhere in Donegal since 2012 after Garda Superintendents in the four local districts said there was too much anti-social behaviour on the night.

Local resident Donal McLoone, who lives directly across from the nightclub, said he simply could not sleep on Christmas night and either could other neighbours if a license was granted.

He told how his father, who lived nearby, was in his 80s and did not enjoy good health and that the noise in the street from revelers would last until 5am.

As well as people urinating in the street, he claimed they will be blowing horns on their cars, banging doors and sitting on window ledges outside their homes.

He pointed to the fact that the Limelight had been granted nine other exemptions over the festive season.

“I feel we’re entitled to a bit of fair play rather than being prisoners on Christmas night from 10pm until 5am,” he said.

After reviewing the case, Judge Aylmer said he had every sympathy for residents and for the Gardai.

However, he said that as a matter of law it would be wrong, given the law provides an entitlement that the premises can apply for this type of order for the early hours of December 26th.

He said the Limelight had a very good record and was well-managed and he granted the exemption with a number of strict conditions.

These included that the event was not to be advertised other than word of mouth, that a total of 16 security staff be employed and that three of these be dedicated to guard the three houses beside the nightclub on the evening.



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