Pubs can flout the law as existing ‘after hours’ legislation not in Irish

Charges against two publicans in Claremorris for having people on their premises after hours, were dismissed at Claremorris District Court this week, when it was revealed that the relevant legislation for the prosecutions being brought had not being translated into Irish. This was despite the fact that the first piece of legislation, which these prosecutions were brought under, was enacted as far back as 2000.

Speaking to the Mayo Advertiser after court, Mr Michael Keane, who acted as solicitor for one of the defendants, said that, “Irish is the first language of the country and because the relevant legislation that my client was being prosecuted under wasn’t translated, the case had to fall, and the judge accepted that fact.” When asked could this cause an issue nationwide in relation to the fact the translation hadn’t been done, he said “it could” as “the legislation that this case was brought under hasn’t been translated, but other parts of it have. The case after mine in the court was also brought under the same legislation and that also fell because of the same issue.”

Dick Byrne of PJ Byrnes, Main Street, Claremorris faced six charges for breaches of licensing laws including the sale of intoxicating liquor after hours, having a premises open for the sale of intoxicating liquor after hours, and permitting intoxicating liquor to be consumed on his premises after hours.

Garda John Monaghan gave evidence to the court of entering the premises at 2.40am on October 3 2010. He told the court that he found seven or eight people in the front of the premises, which is also a shop, and when he went into the bar he found 60 to 80 people. Garda Monaghan said that he spoke to the licensee and looked at the till receipt for the night and retained it as evidence.

Solicitor for Byrne, Mr Michael Keane told the court that: “I have been given a letter from a colleague from the Office of Public Works which confirms that the Intoxicating Liquor Act in question is not available in Irish so any case will fall.” The court was told that the letter confirmed that the Intoxicating Liquor Act’s 2000, 2003 and 2004 have not yet been translated into Irish.

The other case related to similar charges against Mr Patrick Coleman of Ougham, Tubbercurry, Co Sligo the licensee of Pajo’s Bar, Mount Street, Claremorris, which was found in breach on three separate occasions. He was represented in court by Ms Lynda Lenahan who had sourced the letter from the OPW confirming that the translation of the legislation had not been done as of July 1 2011 when they issued the letter to her. Inspector Joe Doherty told the court at the outset of the case “this leaves me in a very difficult position.”

Judge Mary Devins told the court, before dismissing the charges, that: “It amazes me that so much time has passed this hasn’t been done. I’ve already found the law doesn’t exist any more.” Inspection Doherty concluded telling the court that “I will have to speak to the DPP about this.”


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