Judge John Neilan has lashed out at businesses who don’t adhere to company law, saying failure to comply is one of the issues which has brought the country to its knees “flat out into the mud”.
He ordered Inspector Jarlath Folan to contact the Director of Corporate Enforcement to launch an investigation into the trading of Eamon Dolan, owner of Spin nightclub and DNN Nightclubs who leased the premises from him for a time.
However he later withdrew the order.
An eleventh hour letter from Revenue was needed to allow Mr Dolan have the publican’s licence for the nightclub returned to his name.
Judge John Neilan was seriously critical of DNN Nightclubs, because, when they applied to take over the licence from Mr Dolan in May 2008 as part of a lease agreement, they did not complete the final steps to confirm the licence in their name by September.
Mullingar District Court heard that this was because Revenue would not allow the licence to be finalised because DNN Nightclubs had no tax clearance certificate.
In April 2009 Mr Dolan re-took possession of the premises because of tenancy difficulties and he applied to the court for the licence to be returned to him. This was granted by the court subject to the licence being produced.
However, because DNN Nightclubs had not finalised the transfer of the licence to them, it had almost effectively lapsed.
Mr Séamus Tunny told the court that Revenue would only finalise the transfer of the licence back to Mr Dolan on foot of a court order, which he was seeking on behalf of his client.
Judge Neilan was concerned that duties owed on alcohol purchased and sold while DNN were in control of Spin would not be paid to Revenue and the tax payer would be at a loss.
He insisted that Mr Dolan would have to give an undertaking that he would take responsibility for all revenue lost to the State as a result.
He expressed his concern regarding tactics used by some business people to evade paying duty.
DNN had traded on the basis that no revenue was paid, and they had treated the licence with contempt, he said.
He added that he would not facilitate the company in leaving one cent or one million euro unpaid.
“If the patron hands over VAT, it’s incumbent on this administration to see that the licensee hands it over to central funds,” he said.
He also criticised Mr Dolan for applying for the transfer of the licence in April of this year, without being sure that the licence was still in place.
The judge said he would grant the licence transfer if a letter was provided to show that Revenue were satisfied there would be no loss to the taxpayer and that duties owed by DNN would be paid.
The transfer was granted following presentation to the court of an email sent by Revenue to Mr Tunny shortly before 6pm.