District Court Judge Mary Fahy received a round of applause last week when she refused to renew and transfer the annual drinks licence to the owner of the Lantern Bar in Ballybane, following stringent objections from Gardaí and local residents alike.
The judge said the lack of proper management at the premises, particularly over the past year – which had resulted in Gardai having to deal with several public order incidents in the area – had led her to refuse the granting of the licence.
Eight objectors to the licence renewal clapped as the judge gave her judgement.
The owner of the Lantern Bar, Mary Lydon, 10 Blake’s Hill, Gentian Hill, Salthill, had applied to the Annual Licensing District Court for the transfer to her of the seven-day ordinary licence attached to The Lantern Bar and Snooker Hall, which had been licensed to her now former tenant, Kingu Kongu Ltd, and licensee, Danny Kenny.
Mrs Lydon had also applied to the court for the transfer of the licence, in accordance with the provisions of Section 30 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1927, “freed and discharged from any endorsements against, or records of offences committed by the former licensee”.
Sergeant Brendan Moore, who is the Licensing Sergeant for Galway City objected to the renewal of the annual licence on behalf of the Gardaí.
Mr Kenny was not present for the contested hearing.
Handing a medical report into court, his solicitor informed Judge Fahy that Mr Kenny contacted him two hours before the hearing was scheduled to begin that afternoon, stating he would be unable to attend due to a medical condition.
Judge Fahy refused the solicitor’s request to adjourn the hearing, noting the objectors had been in court all day waiting for the case to be heard.
Sgt Moore said he had given the solicitor a document, summarising the Garda objections to the granting of the licence, listing five different incidents which were alleged to have happened in or near the pub.
Benen Fahy, solicitor, explained he represented Mrs Lydon. Mr Fahy said Mr Kenny had surrendered his lease of the pub to Mrs Lydon in August and had signed the back of the licence to facilitate its transfer to her and the premises had been closed since then.
He said his client had not been aware of any problems with the management of the premises until recently and she now wanted to regularise matters.
“She has put the property up for sale and does not intend to open it again,” he added.
Sgt Moore called evidence to support the Gardaí’s application objecting to the renewal.
Five Gardaí in turn gave evidence about several public order incidents which were alleged to have occurred in the vicinity of the pub in the last year.
Garda Paul Gahan said he received a report of men fighting in the pub’s carpark on Sunday morning, June 2 last. He arrived there at 1.20am to find one man being assaulted by several members of his own family. All were intoxicated and informed him they had been drinking earlier in the pub. Closing time was 12.30a.m.
“It took at least six Gardaí arriving in three Garda cars up to 20 minutes to diffuse the situation. The injured man withdrew his complaint so no prosecutions ensued,” he said.
Garda Pat Casey gave evidence he inspected the pub at 1am on May 12 last and found a number of people, including a 16-year-old juvenile, drinking there. He confirmed a prosecution was pending for that matter.
Garda Michael Gallagher said he was called to the premises at 12.30am on May 6 last after the manager reported a large Christening party had “gone out of control” upstairs in the pub.
He said the manager remained outside the premises as he and a female colleague tried to get the forty or so intoxicated family members to leave. “It was totally out of control and we had to call for assistance. There was chaos inside. There was no staff upstairs. They left it to the Gardaí to sort it out. The manager said he had lost control,” he told the court.
Garda Gallagher said he tried to reason with the father of the baby boy who had been christened but had to arrest him when he became threatening and abusive when asked to leave the area.
He confirmed that at least 12 Gardaí had to lend assistance on the night.
Garda Cian O’Boyle said he noticed one of the men at the Christening party upstairs in the pub had blood all over his face. He said he went to speak to a juvenile who was drinking but the juvenile ran outside into the carpark where he started fighting with another male.
He said he arrested the juvenile for being drunk in public and for breaching the peace.
Garda Christine Galvin said she responded to an incident in the early hours of New Year’s Day along with several Garda units, including the armed Regional Support Unit.
She said that up to 70 patrons were engaging in verbal disputes outside the pub.
“People were pulling each other’s hair. It was unsafe to enter the premises as people were leaving it. Gardaí were trying to get control of things happening outside.
“Patrons were crossing the road in front of traffic. Some went into Lios na Rún and started arguing there. People were arrested and a file is with the DPP about what happened that night.
“The premises was open and people were exiting as Gardaí arrived. The Gardaí were there to maintain control of the situation. People were very intoxicated, aggressive and very disrespectful to the Gardaí there.
“I just felt sorry for people living in the area,” Garda Galvin said.
Sgt Moore said he had never met the licensee on the many occasions he had inspected The Lantern pub, and he said he had inspected it more often than any other premises in the city since taking charge of Garda licensing matters.
“There was no proper control of the premises by the licensee and no regard for the Licensing Act.
“This is a densely populated residential area and the number of disturbances that have emanated from that premises and that have spilled out into the surrounding housing estates, has affected people’s quality of life,” Sgt Moore added.
Mr Kenny’s solicitor said he felt the Garda’s application, objecting to the renewal of the licence, should be struck out as the evidence stated some of the incidents occurred outside the premises and the licensee could not be held accountable for those.
Mr Fahy said the premises had been taken back and the licensee (Mr Kenny) had no involvement with it any more. He noted prosecutions were pending and they should be dealt with and those responsible punished for whatever breaches of the licensing laws they were responsible for. Judge Fahy said her hands were tied because Mr Kenny was not in court to give evidence saying he was no longer involved.
Mary Lydon gave evidence she had leased the premises to Kingu Kongu Ltd for four years and nine months from April 2016. She said her son, Terry Lydon, looks after a portfolio of eight pubs which she owns.
She said her son started to have concerns over the running of the premises in recent months and spoke to the licensee who agreed to surrender the lease.
Mrs Lydon said she would be putting the premises up for sale after works were carried out to the satisfaction of the Fire Officer.
Sgt Moore put it to Mrs Lydon she was giving the impression she didn’t know what was going on at the premises or how it was being ran even though she lived in Galway.
“Should the license be renewed here today, how will we know that you won’t transfer it to another tenant?” he asked.
Mrs Lydon said she would not be leasing it again.
“I only want my licence back to get rid of the whole lot,” she replied.
Sgt Moore put to her that the licensee was aware of the Garda objections to the renewal since August, so he was aware of the objections when he surrendered the lease back to her in September.
“Don’t you know that this is merely a device to avoid objections and refusal of the licence renewal? He ran amok up there.
“You will find another tenant and in the meantime, no one is responsible for what went on,” Sgt Moore said.
“There will not be another licensee up there,” Mrs Lydon tried to assure him.
“We don’t know that,” the sergeant replied.
Terry Lydon said a YouTube video he saw last January of people arguing in the pub carpark prompted him to speak to Mr Kenny, telling him it was time for him to “move on” and hand the premises back.
Sgt Moore said there was nothing to stop witness getting another tenant in there “and continue your ‘hands-off, laissez-faire’ approach, expecting the Gardai to run your property for you”.
Mr Lydon said he took steps to get the premises back and he did get it back in September.
Judge Fahy observed it was strange that nobody was “moved on” the licensee in January, February or March and not until the licence came up for renewal in September, even though witness was aware of problems in its management since January.
Judge Fahy observed it was up to the licensee to control a premises and not the Gardaí.
She upheld the Garda objections and made an order refusing the renewal of the licence, stating the premises was not being run properly.
Mr Fahy asked about his application to have the licence transferred to his client.
“Your licence has not been renewed so you have nothing to transfer,” Judge Fahy replied.
She said she had made her order and he could appeal her decision to a higher court if he so wished.
She said that for the transfer application to proceed, the licensee would have to be in court.
“It’s unprecedented that the licensee is not in court and I’m not happy the medical letter is genuine. It covers yesterday and today I do not know, but the licensee is not in court,” the judge said.
Mr Fahy said his application was for the transfer of the current licence to his client and he asked the judge to adjourn the application to another date.
Judge Fahy again refused the application, stating the licensee had not been in control of the premises and the owner, since last January, had made absolutely no effort to remedy the situation and take it back until last month.
She reiterated she was refusing the application for transfer of the licence back to Mrs Lydon.
Mr Fahy intimated he would be appealing the court’s decision.
The residents clapped when the final order was made.
Afterwards, one woman said eight objectors had come to court to represent the people of Ballybane.
“We’re all very happy with the decision. That’s all we want to say,” she said. “No more drink late at night,” another woman added.
Emergency accommodation for rough sleepers in Galway during Storm Barra
Arrangements have been made to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers ahead of Storm Barra hitting Galway in the morning.
Accommodation will be provided at locations including The Glenoaks in the Westside, the Fairgreen in the city centre and Osterley Lodge in Salthill (Contact 085 8009709 or 085 8009641).
The COPE Galway Day Centre will remain open all day Tuesday from 8.30am to closing.
Meanwhile, Galway City Council has warned that a number of roads may be closed in the morning ahead of high tide, including Salthill Prom.
Following ongoing meetings of the Inter-Agency Co-ordination group today and based on the latest information available, a number of precautionary measures have been put in place.
- Closure of Silverstrand Beach at 6pm Monday
- Closure of Ballyloughane Beach at midnight (Local Traffic only)
- Closure of Rosshill Road at 6am Tuesday
- Closure of Salthill Promenade at midnight:
- Blackrock Tower to Seapoint and onto Grattan Road. (Closure of Grattan Road may be required. Monitoring in place to decide.)
- Potential closure of roads along the Claddagh, Docks and Spanish Arch from 5am Tuesday
A spokesperson said: “There may be further closures throughout the city as required and the situation will be closely monitored and regular updates given. Motorists will experience delays as a result.”
The carparks at Toft Park and on the Promenade have been closed and all vehicle owners have been asked to move their vehicles from car parks and along the Prom.
Sand bags are now available at the following manned locations: the former Tourist Kiosk in Salthill (behind Seapoint); Claddagh Hall; Galway Fire Station; Spanish Arch; the Docks (beside the pedestrian crossing at St Nicholas Street).
“Anyone who avails of sandbags should retain them in their possession for use throughout the upcoming winter season. Please do not take any more sandbags than you need,” the Council spokesperson said.
“The main impacts will include strong winds, falling trees and potential flooding. High tide in Galway Bay will be at 6.45am Tuesday.
“Some trees may be compromised due to saturated soils at the moment, and with more rain forecast with Storm Barra some disruption due to falling trees/branches is likely. Heavy rain, coupled with falling leaves may block drains and gullies, leading to surface flooding. Galway City Council staff have been carrying out drainage maintenance across the city in advance of the storm to minimise potential flooding risks.
“Storm Barra will produce significant swell, high waves and sizeable storm surges. This will lead to wave overtopping, some coastal flooding and damage, especially along western and southern coasts,” the Council said.
Business owners and homeowners are advised to check their own drains and secure any loose objects within their property in advance of the warning taking effect.
“Galway City Council advises remaining indoors during the period of the warning and, as always, to avoid coastal areas. Parks and other wooded areas should also be avoided, due to the danger of falling trees. If absolutely essential to travel, please exercise extreme caution out and about especially on coastal roads and exposed shores.
“City Council staff will be on standby for clean-up following the passing of Storm Barra and the associated warning once it has been deemed safe to do so. Please note the associated clean-up which will commence on Wednesday morning may impact on traffic.”
Galway City Council Customer Services phone lines are available to deal with emergency calls on 091 536400. For the Galway County Council area, the phone number is 091 509069.
School reports better atmosphere and reduced stress due to pilot project
Daily car use at Scoil Iognáid has reduced by 14% in the past year since Galway City Council introduced a School Streets pilot project to the area.
More children are walking (+11%), scooting (+3%) and cycling (+7%) on a daily basis, according to a report published by Galway City Council.
Staff reported that children were arriving to school more ready to learn, with an improved atmosphere and reduced stress at the school gate. Parents and the wider community reported a better walking and cycling environment, improved access and community spirit.
A ‘School Street’ is a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times – creating a safer, calmer space for children, parents and residents to walk, scoot or cycle. The pilot project in Scoil Iognáid was formally launched in November, 2020, with hundreds of families joining to create the first city-centre School Streets project in Ireland.
As part of the pilot project, Palmyra Row, Palmyra Avenue and Raleigh Row were pedestrianised from November 30 during the school pick-up and drop-off times during the school term. Residents retain access to their homes during these times, as do cyclists or ‘blue badge’ holders, accessing the school.
The project is funded by the National Transport Authority and delivered with the support of the Green-Schools Travel programme, An Garda Siochána, and the wider school community.
Galway West TD and Minister of State in the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD described the City Council report as “incredibly encouraging”.
She said the findings would provide information on how to boost increased levels of children taking a healthier and greener mode of transport to and from school.
“Crucially, the report and findings published by Galway City Council acts as a step-by-step blueprint for local authorities nationwide to replicate these results in their own counties,” Deputy Naughton stated.
“Earlier this year I launched a new programme, Safe Routes to School, which is investing in safe walking, cycling and scooting infrastructure on the lead-up to and entrances of our schools. The programme aims to deliver and is delivering, results just like those we can see from this School Streets pilot.”
Director of Services at Galway City Council Patrick Greene said there was reason to celebrate as the School Streets pilot turned one.
“The National Transport Authority identifies the front of school as the place where children congregate in the greatest numbers and where they are most vulnerable to indiscriminate parking practices, hazardous crossing conditions and air quality issues from idling cars.
“The School Streets pilot at Scoil Iognáid has created a space where children as young as four and five are scooting and cycling with their older classmates, as they arrive into school. “Galway City Council is now looking to progress ‘Safe Routes to School’ and ‘School Zones’ at more schools in the city – these designs will create a safer front-of-school environment for children and if any opportunities arise to deliver School Streets or ‘traffic-free’ streets. Galway City Council welcomes the opportunity to explore this with the school community,” he added.
The full report from the public consultation on April/ May 2021, and further information on the School Streets project can be found at www.galwaycity.ie/schoolstreets.
Tommy confident that relic from 1914 shipwreck is in sight
BY LORNA SIGGINS firstname.lastname@example.org
When Claddagh native Tommy Holohan was growing up on Galway Bay, he remembered how neighbours used to have contests to swim out to the wreck of a ship off Mutton island.
Now he believes he may have located the anchor of the same ship, named Nordlyset, in the sands off Nimmo’s pier.
“We’re not sure, but the anchor chain is here and close to part of the keel, so there’s every reason to think the actual anchor is a couple of foot below, “Holohan says.
“If it can be located, and then raised, it should be exhibited as a key part of Galway’s maritime history,” he feels.
The Nordlyset, or Northern lights, was a three-masted 1,600-ton steel sailing barque which was built in Greenock, Scotland, in 1891.
It was carrying a cargo of timber deal from Rimouski, Canada, into Galway when it hit rocks off Mutton island in November 1914.
No members of the crew perished, but much of its cargo was either washed ashore or was salvaged, Holohan says.
“They got her off the rocks and towed her in, and the hull was sitting upright and we could see it for several years” he explains.
“The Claddagh men had contests to swim out to her,” he recalls.
“Then Hammond Lane Metal Company was sent to take what was of value from it and stripped it down,” Holohan says.
“It was a beautiful ship, and a ship that sailed the oceans. It was fitted with the most modern technology they had at the time.
“Galway had been setting its sights on becoming a major transatlantic port and, of course it was one of several ships to run aground in the Bay – but perhaps one of the better-remembered by people who are still alive,” Holohan says.
“All that was left after Hammond Lane finished was the keel, and we think the anchor has to be here. “I think if the proper buoys were used, it might help to lift the keel and that would point to the anchor,” he believes.
The wreck was also close to South Park, known as the ‘Swamp;, which was the Galway dump until the late 1950s, he points out.
“When we were growing up on the Claddagh, we had no toys, so we would be back looking for toys in the dump, or food. When my mother was young, she and her sisters were sent down to the dump for cinders for the fire,” he says.
Holohan is a grandson of Nan Toole, who was known for her medicinal cures in the Claddagh. She delivered him as a home birth in 1951 and died a year later in 1952.
A keen athlete, Holohan holds the world record for the number of times an Irish person has run the New York marathon consecutively, and has also run marathons in Dublin, Boston, Edinburgh and the Mojave desert.
He is a founder member of the Anti-Austerity Alliance and stood for the alliance in the local elections in 2014, and in the 2016 general election. Apart from politics and running, he also maintains a keen interest in local history.