A Ballyshannon publican has been warned to obtain a licence for his premises by January after it emerged that he had previously been trading without one for three years.
Ballyshannon District Court heard last Friday that Patrick O’Hara of the Jolly Farmer, Clyhore had been trading unlicensed for three years from September 2007 to September 2010.
A Revenue Officer, Mr. Murphy based in Donegal Town, told the court he had called to the premises on September 27th, 2010 and ordered a whiskey but found that Mr O’Hara was not around.
Murphy said he later met the defendant at the Revenue Office where he admitted trading without a licence, which had expired on September 30th, 2007.
The court heard that the defendant had obtained a trading certificate in June of this year at Donegal Circuit Court but that this had expired at the end of September and no licence had been taken out since then.
State Solicitor, Ciaran Liddy, told the court that the defendant had two previous convictions for unlicensed trading.
Judge Kevin Kilrane expressed concern that Mr O’Hara had been trading unlicensed for three years and had not initially appeared in court.
The Judge said, “I am very concerned about this man’s attitude. He has served time in prison and it’s now December and he hasn’t taken up a licence since October 1st.”
The judge issued a bench warrant and when Mr O’Hara later appeared in court he admitted not having a licence as he was trying to get his tax affairs in order and had been going through a “rough time”.
He added that he had not paid the two previous fines as he couldn’t afford to and had opted to serve time in prison instead.
Judge Kilrane put the matter back to January 6th and told Mr O’Hara: “I want to see a licence on that date and you better look sharp as you may face an objection to your licence renewal.
“I know times are hard but you’re either in business or you’re not. If it’s not working then get out of business”