A city centre licensed premises, which was one of the first in Galway to implement the smoking ban before it had been made law, has been fined for allowing punters to smoke in an area specifically designated as non-smoking.
An Tobar and the Dew Drop Inn, which is now a combined premises run by DDI (Public House ) ltd, was fined €500 and ordered to pay costs of €950 with two months to pay after the company was summoned to appear in court by Galway City Council.
Galway District Court heard last Tuesday how inspectors visited the premises on December 12, 2008, at 7.40pm and went to the rear of the premises where they found seven out of 13 people smoking and ashtrays present in an area where there were numerous non-smoking signs erected. Council inspector Aine Slattery explained that the premises had formally been divided in two but that they had been combined and now a long corridor at the rear connected them. A perplex roof had been erected over this corridor, however, one “enclosed” section was found not to be in compliance with regulations.
Under questioning Ms Slattery said that these breaches had been pointed out to the owner, Ronnie Greaney, on other occasions. She said that Mr Greaney had been co-operative previously in relation to another section and that a roof structure had been removed.
After hearing the evidence, Judge Mary Fahy noted that “some years back this premises had offered non-smoking facilities before it [the smoking ban] was in place”. She added that it was “a bit ironic that it [the premises] is before the courts now”.
The court then heard that DDI (Public House ) Ltd, who has no previous convictions, has taken measures, put in place further restrictions, trained staff, and has the area policed. There have been two further unannounced inspections and the premises has been found to be in compliance with smoking ban regulations.