West Donegal publican fined for after hours drinking

May 17, 2024

A west Donegal publican has been fined a total of €1,250 and given a firm warning by a District Court Judge after two ‘after hours’ breaches.

Damien Whoriskey was before Falcarragh District Court in relation to the breaches of the licensing laws.

Gardai found a handful of patrons in Maire Rua’s Bar on Main Street. Falcarragh at 9.28am on a Bank Holiday Monday while 35 people were found at 2.05am in Teac Bhillie, Gortahork on a different date.

Whoriskey, a 37-year-old of Middle Keeldrum, Gortahork, is the licensee of each premises.

Garda Inspector Seamus McGonigle told the court that gardai entered Maire Rua’s on Main Street, Falcarragh at 9.28am on February 6, 2023.

Gardai found five patrons and one member of staff. There was no exemption in place at the time, Inspector McGonigle said.

The court heard that alcohol had been sold and the staff member told officers that they “didn’t know” the opening time on a bank holiday.

The court was also informed that gardai entered the front door of Teac Bhillie, Gortahork at 2.05am on April 7, 2023. Inspector McGonigle said music could be heard playing when gardai entered.

Officers inspected the premises and found 15 people with fresh drinks in one part of the bar and three members of staff behind the bar preparing drinks.

In the lounge, a further 20 people were found and people at the bar had fresh drinks.

Inspector McGonigle said no exemption was in place and that closing time was 12.30am on the night in question.

The court heard that Whoriskey was previously fined €500 after one previous conviction for six counts of the same offence.

Mr Patsy Gallagher, solicitor for Whoriskey, said his client tendered a plea at the first opportunity and has since “put his shop in order”. He said staff are now fully trained and aware of the regulations they must abide.

Mr Gallagher told the court that there have been no further breaches since last year.

Judge Éiteáin Cunningham said this was the “third time in a very short space of time” that Whoriskey has faced similar charges.

“Mr Whoriskey will, no doubt, be looking to this court for a renewal of the licence or any further applications,” Judge Cunningham said.

Mr Gallagher said there have been multiple checks in the last year and Whoriskey has been “fully compliant”.

He said: “This has been a learning experience for him.”

After taking some time to consider the matter, Judge Cunningham convicted Whoriskey on one of the counts relating to Maire Ruas’s, fining him €500 and allowing six months to pay.

Whoriskey was convicted on one of the counts relating to Teac Bhillie and fined €750 with six months to pay.

Judge Cunningham said: “My comments should be noted by the licence holder.”