A pub in Ballyshannon has been operating for eight years without a full licence, a court in Donegal has been told.
Two cases were opened at Ballyshannon District Court on Friday week last in relation to two local pubs.
The Revenue Commissioners brought a prosecution against Maurice McLaughlin, T/A Sean Og's, Market Square, Ballyshannon for allegedly selling alcohol without a licence on August 31, 2015. They are also prosecuting John Muldoon, T/A The Market House, Market Square, Ballyshannon, for allegedly selling alcohol without a licence on the same date.
Florence Hutchinson, acting for Maurice Mr McLaughlin said he is leasing Sean Og's, which is owned by a limited company, of which he is not a director . "He is fully tax compliant but can't get a licence because there are outstanding tax issues concerning the limited company that owns the premises," Ms Hutchinson explained.
Mark Mullaney, acting for John Muldoon, said that the Market House is owned by a partnership, with which Mr McLaughlin has no involvement.
Relationship between the two pubs
Seeking to clarify the relationship between the two pubs, Judge Kevin Kilrane jokingly asked, “Is there a secret connecting corridor between to the two pubs?” to which solicitors immediately responded, “Oh God, no, no.”
Ciaran Liddy, prosecuting, said that the last paper licence issued to Sean Og's expired in September 2008. A certificate was issued by the Circuit Court in April 2013 but the company which was in charge of both premises was dissolved in 2014.
Miss Diver from the Revenue explained that, although Mr McLaughlin has a tax clearance certificate, the company owns both licences and they have not been able to go to court and get the court clearances. "The licence hasn't been renewed," she added. "The court cert that was issued in 2013 was for a company that has ceased trading." Discussions are ongoing with a view to regularising all matters, she stated.
Supt. Colm Nevin said it was "unacceptable" that a pub would trade so long without a licence.
Judge Kilrane adjourned both cases to May 5 saying he hoped that the licences will all be in order by then.