Judge uneasy about 23 hour pub licence

editorial image

A District Court Judge has said he is his uneasy about granting a 23 hour fisherman’s licence to an Inishowen pub.

Speaking in Carndonagh District Court on Tuesday, Judge Paul Kelly asked solicitor Ciaran MacLochlainn what are the reasons for granting such a lengthy licence to serve alcohol to his client Michael Doherty, who owns the Seaview Tavern in Malin Head.

He accepted he had the power to grant such a licence but queried further why the bar would want it.

He added: “I’m uneasy about this as probably about 80 - 90% of public order offences which come before this court are alcohol related.”

Mr MacLochlainn said there has huge tradition of fishing in a community.

“These are all small fishermen who stay out here in Malin Head. They come and go all the time - the tide is their clock not the one on the wall.

“Fishermen can’t go to the pub when everyone else knocks off. It is a busy pier and the fishermen don’t work between nine to six like the rest of us

He added: “This licence is solely for people in the fishing trade and gardai would be entitled to prosecute should the raid the pub and find people not in that profession. Although there has never been a prosecution to my knowledge.”

Judge Kelly said he worried this licence doesn’t put enough restrictions on who can come in.

“It seems once the pub is opened anyone can walk in,” he added.

Inspector David Murphy said section four of the act implies that law only applies to fishermen.

He said he had concerns about the general exemptions to the public would not be used.

The Buncrana solicitor said that the licence was opened to be revoked at any time should there be any abuse of it.

He told the Judge the licence is for practical use only and that the bar was in a scenic area with a restaurant attached to it.

However the District Judge responded saying: “You won’t see much there at 3am.”

Judge Kelly adjourned the case to allow the Mr MacLochlainn and An Gardai Siochana time for his “questions to be answered”.