Donegal publican serving at 4.30am told cops “You f***ers are out to get me”

June 6, 2024

A pub owner has appeared in court again after Gardai found loud music playing in his bar and five people drinking alcohol at 4.20am.

Martin Coyle, licensee of the Village Inn in Kerrykeel, appeared at Letterkenny District Court.

Garda Suzanne Gordon told the court that Gardai received an anonymous tip-off of after-hours drinking at the premises at 4.14am on September 12th, 2022.

Herself and a colleague called to the Village Inn, arriving at 4.30am.

The front door of the premises was closed but they made their way into the premises through a back door which was open and unlocked.

Garda Gordon said she noticed five males in the bar area and that freshly-poured pints of beer were present and music was playing.

She said it took patrons a couple of minutes to realise that the Gardai were present.

Garda Gordon said the owner of the bar, Martin Coyle, approached her and said “You f***ers are out to get me.”

She added that Mr Coyle was intoxicated and aggressive.

Garda Gordon said she asked for the names of all the patrons on the premises but added that she already knew most of them.

She added that Coyle’s son was also on the premises and she requested him to close the bar, turn off the music and lock up the doors.

Coyle, who was charged with selling intoxicating liquor after hours, was not called to give evidence.

Solicitor for the accused, Ms Maureen Gallagher, put it to Garda Gordon that the front door was locked and there was not easy access to the rear door but Garda Gordon replied that they had no problem entering through the back door.

Ms Gallagher also said that her client had contacted the Garda station afterwards and apologised to Garda Gordon.

Garda Gordon said she did recall a phonecall but not an apology.

Ms Gallagher put it to the court that the Village Inn was in a country area and that it encountered only seasonal trade from March to October and that it did not have a lot of patrons all year ’round.

She added that it was a family business and Garda Gordon confirmed that the premises had not come to Garda attention since this incident.

Ms Gallagher said her client is a 47-year-old man with two grown-up children and that it is his intention to pass on the premises to his children.

She added that on this particular night there was a birthday party in the pub and that her client had lost track of time.

Judge Eiteain Cunningham asked if there was previous convictions of a similar nature in the case.

Garda Inspector Paul McGee told the court there was and read out a range of similar convictions for the bar stretching back as far as 2016.

Judge Cunningham noted “the history is not good.”

Ms Gallagher pleaded with Judge Cunningham not to endorse the pub’s license at this stage saying that he is going to transfer the license to his children whom she said have “a different attitude to running the premises.”

She asked Judge Cunningham to be as lenient as possible to her client.

The case was adjourned to July 18th for sentencing.