Judge orders “no gimmickry, inducements or freebies” in drinks war

At yesterday’s sitting of Donegal District Court a judge told Bundoran night club owners that he wants no more gimmickry or freebie or inducements of any description and imposed a minimum price of €2.50 for all shorts in an ongoing price war in the resort’s top nightclubs.

At yesterday’s sitting of Donegal District Court a judge told Bundoran night club owners that he wants no more gimmickry or freebie or inducements of any description and imposed a minimum price of €2.50 for all shorts in an ongoing price war in the resort’s top nightclubs.

On Friday last at Ballyshannon District Court Judge Kevin Kilrane ordered that all three night clubs in Bundoran charge a minimum of €2.50 per drink, and yesterday sought evidence that his order had been complied with.

However, Superintendent Leo McGinn told the court that the price of €2.50 per unit was being adhered to. However, he had evidence that mixers were being included with the drink and that he had an advertisement indicating this in his possession. He said he felt that this was an attempt to circumvent the ruling.

Brian McMullin on behalf of Conor McEniff. t/a Paris Nightclub, told the Court that he had an advertisement which was carried on Facebook which was advertising free entry including a bottle of beer into Aqua night club.

Sgt. Kilroy of Bundoran said that he has spoken with Thomas Wilmott of Aqua Night Club on Saturday and explained to him that an order had been made that no alcoholic drink could be sold for less than €2.50 and confirmed that a letter had been sent to confirm this.

He told the court that he carried out inspections on all three premises over the weekend and that all three premises were being conducted in a proper manner. He also confirmed that there was no evidence of anti-social behaviour.

In evidence Thomas Wilmott of Aqua Night Club said that the advertisement on Facebook had been posted a week earlier and was not now in operation.

He said: “When we opened the night club it was never our intention to get into a price war. This price of €2.50 is unrealistic with a mixer included. It is uneconomic and I would ask you to raise the minimum price”.

Mr. McMullin, on behalf of Paris, said that the mixer concept was not of his client’s doing and said that his client’s view was that the same price should apply in all premises.

In evidence, Conor McEniff said: “After court in Ballyshannon on Friday last I discussed the matter with Brian McEniff and I thought that we would revert back to the prices we had been charging for years.

“I then saw an advertisement on Facebook re the drink offers in Jumping Jacks and I rang Brian (McEniff) and he said ‘he would sort it out.’ It wasn’t sorted and I had to match it.

“It’s not something I want to do - I don’t want to give mixers free even from a point of view of stock control”.

Judge Kilrane said: “I realise that we are living in tough financial times and that premises must take innovative measures to attract business. They all have their costs to pay.”

Conor McEniff added that he was very happy with his new club which he felt could compete with the best in the country. He did not want to reduce his prices but he had to compete.

Judge Kilrane told Mr. McEniff: “You seem to be in substantial agreement with Mr. Wilmott. Everybody is entitled to a reasonable margin to sustain their business.

“Each measure is to be charged at €2.50 with no inducements of a beverage added on and I want no fancy schemes to circumvent this order.

“I will accept no gimmickry, freebies or inducements. €2.50 is the minimum price and anything thereafter is to be charged at an economic price - if there is any gimmickry I will revoke the bar extensions,” the judge added.

Both Paris and Aqua night clubs had representation in court, but Jumping Jacks was not represented.