Dungiven bar closed for three months - court

Limavady Courthouse.
Limavady Courthouse.

A bar in Dungiven that sold alcohol up until 5am has been closed for three months.

Appearing at Limavady Magistrates Court on Wednesday was Coleen Ann O’Neill and James Thomas, both with an address at Kevin Lynch Park, Dungiven.

O’Neill, aged 43, pleaded guilty to permitting the consumption of liquor outside of hours at Joe’s Bar on Main Street Dungiven, between October 4 - October 7, 2013, and having sold intoxicating liquor in licensed premises, namely, Joe’s Bar, 94-96 Main Street, Dungiven, otherwise than during the permitted hours.

Thomas (44) was convicted of having sold liquor outside permitted hours at the same premises during the same dates.

O’Neill, the licensee, was fined £3,000. Thomas was fined £1,000 by District Judge Liam McNally, who also ordered that Joe’s Bar close for three months.

The court heard the Ambulance Service was attending a sudden death at the bar on October 6, 2013, at 6am.

Police attended and reported at 6.22am there were a number of people present in the bar. O’Neill was present, as well as two bar men and patrons. Till receipts showed that alcohol had been sold throughout the night from 1am to 4.49am.

The court heard O’Neill had said she was aware alcohol had been sold outside permitted hours. She said she had been out in Limavady with Thomas and another person and they came back to Joe’s Bar at 1am when a number of people were in the bar.

Defence solicitor, John Fahy said clearly the premises were not being run in a proper manner, and that “licensing laws in Dungiven are not strictly adhered to”. He said Thomas had driven O’Neill and the other person to Limavady that night. He said there was a very small number of people on the premises. The court heard O’Neill had told a barman to keep serving.

District Judge Liam McNally said it was “as bad a case as I’ve come across” and said O’Neill’s “appalling” record was “as bad a record as I’ve come across”. He said she had gone back into her own pub after 1am and allowed drink to be served up to 5am.