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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Out of control’ pub gets licence renewed

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The owner of The Lantern in Ballybane has succeeded in having the bar’s annual drinks licence renewed, paving the way for the premises to be sold.

An order made in the District Court by Judge Mary Fahy in November – refusing to renew the pub’s annual drinks licence – was quashed by Judge James McCourt at an appeals hearing in the Circuit Court a week ago.

Residents, who had applauded Judge Fahy when she refused the licence in the District Court, were quite despondent when it was renewed by the Circuit Court.

Afterwards, they said they were anxious to find out who the new owner would be and were not very hopeful that things would change at the pub.

Mary Lydon, from Gentian Hill, who owns the Lantern Bar, had applied to the Annual Licensing District Court in November for a renewal of the licence and also its transfer back to her, after former tenant, Danny Kenny, nominee and director of Kingu Kongu Ltd had it handed back to her when he vacated the premises last September.

Refusing the renewal or transfer applications in November, Judge Fahy said the lack of proper management at the premises – particularly during all of last year – which had resulted in Gardai having to deal with several public order incidents in the area, had led her to refuse the applications.

Ms Lydon sought to allay the District Court and local residents’ concerns about the running of the pub by Mr Kenny throughout 2019 by telling Judge Fahy in November that she would not be leasing the premises again and that she intended to sell it. However, the sale could not go through unless the licence was renewed, she said.

The appeal hearing was told last week that another well-known publican, who was not identified in court, was keen to purchase the premises providing the licence was attached.

Terry Lydon, who said he managed his mother’s many properties, confirmed he had a purchaser for the pub on condition the licence came with it.

Sergeant Brendan Moore, who is the dedicated licensing Sergeant for Galway City, said he was objecting to the licence renewal because of the way the premises had been run by Mr Kenny. Gardaí had been called to deal with 31 Public Order incidents – five of which were very serious – at the pub on several dates, starting with New Year’s Eve last year and right up to when the pub closed last August, he said.

He said he had taken it upon himself to visit the premises regularly at closing times last year and had taken up to a dozen Gardai with him on each occasion to ensure the premises was closed properly.

In reply to Judge McCourt, the Sergeant said the Lantern Bar was the only premises in Galway that was out of control on New Year’s Eve last year.

“I never saw the licensee (Kenny) there. I made many visits to the pub and he was never there,” the Sgt added.

He said he feared that if the licence was renewed now, then in the future, when Gardaí gave notice of objecting to the renewal of any licence, it would simply be transferred to someone else to avoid objections.

“If we object to any premises, there is an opt-out clause now and if we give notice of objections that opt-out clause is there for people to use,” Sgt Moore pointed out.

Mr Kenny gave evidence at the appeal hearing that while he was the licensee at the time, he had appointed a bar manager who had full responsibility for running the premises.

He said he called to the premises weekly and viewed an incident diary which the manager kept.

Mr Kenny said he had not been informed of any problems by his manager and he suggested that if the Gardaí – whom, he said, knew him well – had approached him directly, he would have dealt with matters swiftly.

Under cross-examination by State solicitor, Willie Kennedy, Mr Kenny said he had signed over the licence and handed back the lease to Terry Lydon last September because business was slow and his company’s debts, including rent arrears of up to €8,000, were mounting, adding that Kingu Kongu Ltd had since been liquidated.

He denied the rent debt had been written off on him surrendering the lease and licence months before the lease was due to expire.

Mr Kennedy put it to him that handing the licence and premises back early it had been a device to avoid objections and refusal of the licence renewal.

Judge McCourt compared Mr Kennedy’s application to the court to impose the ‘ultimate sanction’ by refusing the renewal of the licence, to a ‘Doomsday scenario’.

“A lot of store has been given to unruly incidents but incidents always arise.  It certainly is not the first case where a licensee, such as Mr Kenny, has been put in a situation where the landlord takes a premises back.

“But is there anything to suggest that the surrender and handing back was nothing more than arm’s length and voluntary?” Judge McCourt asked Mr Kennedy.

“The surrender was two years early,” Mr Kennedy replied.

“If you were a landlord and there was trouble you might take back your property and waive rent due to keep the licence,” Judge McCourt suggested.

Mr Kennedy said there was evidence before the court that the premises was badly run and the Gardai were objecting to the renewal of the licence because they felt the licensee was not properly running the premises.

“The court is adopting the stance that if the property is transferred at arm’s length then that is okay,” Mr Kennedy said.

Judge McCourt replied: “If no one can offer evidence of something sinister going on or evidence there was collusion between the landlord and the tenant, then the transfer was legitimate,” Judge McCourt replied.

Mr Paul McGettigan BL, instructed by solicitor, Glenn Keaney, for Ms Lydon, said Mr Kennedy was insinuating the licence had been “laundered” but in fact, discussions (between Mr Kenny and Tony Lydon) had been going on since the previous January. The business, he said, was not performing and was in debt and his client had approached Mr Kenny on several occasions.

“There is nothing untoward here,” he said.

Judge McCourt said he was satisfied the objections raised in the matter were well founded and they were accepted by everybody, including Mr Kenny and the Lydons.

“On the face of it, it was a legitimate, valid surrender,” he held.

The judge said he could not ignore the fact he had been told that Ms Lydon had a new occupier ‘lined up’

“The premises is back in secure hands and the licence is back in secure hands,” he noted.

The judge said it was appropriate in the circumstances to allow the appeal and renew the licence attached to the premises.

A spokesperson for a large group of local residents, who attended the appeal hearing, said: “We are the people living with the consequences of the pub.  This is a residential area. There are elderly people, there are disabled people and there are ordinary people of many ethnic backgrounds most of whom hate the thought of the pub being reopened.

“We can only pray that the new owners at least try and run a better establishment but we’re not very hopeful.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Comedian Julie Jay for Town Hall Studio

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Comedian Julie Jay.

Comedian and secondary school teacher Julie Jay will perform in the city’s Town Hall Theatre Studio on Thursday next, February 27, as part of her first solo tour of Ireland.

Julie Really Love Me? explores her quest for validation, applying lessons gleamed from Oprah in the early 1990s to modern life, navigating being childless in the state of Gilead and guards. Lots and lots of guards.

An exciting new voices on the Irish comedy scene, her show is a mix of warmth and self-deprecation, with wry wit, neurotic ponderings and clever jokes.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cooney eager for Galway to front up against Dublin foes

Stephen Glennon

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Galway defender Charlotte Cooney who is looking forward to renewing rivalry with All-Ireland champions Dublin at Parnell Park on Sunday.

GALWAY and All-Ireland champions Dublin clash in the LGFA National League at Parnell Park on Sunday (2pm) and, although this will be the first meeting of the sides since last September’s All-Ireland decider, vice-captain Charlotte Cooney believes this tie “is not going to be anything like the final”.

With both teams fielding very different teams so far in the league — due to the unavailability of key panellists — it means many of the marquee players who graced Croke Park last September will not be on view this Sunday.

These include Galway’s All-Star sisters Louise and Nicola Ward, both of whom are recovering from injuries at present, and Clonbur’s Mairead Seoighe, who is currently playing AFL in Australia, as are a number of Dublin’s players, most notably Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy.

That said, Dublin will still not be lacking quality, with the likes of goalkeeper Ciara Trant, defenders Niamh Collins and Martha Byrne, midfielder Lauren Magee and forwards Carla Rowe and Lynsey Davey featuring in the Dubs’ narrow loss to Cork in the last round.

“This is going to be a very difficult game; it is going to be our biggest contest this year so far,” says Cooney. “I think both teams will be trying a lot of players — it is not going to be anything like the All-Ireland final — but I am still looking forward to it, if only just to see where we are at. So, it is going to be a massive challenge for us.”

Already, Galway have been on a rollercoaster ride in the opening stages of the National League, conceding five goals against Waterford, and still only losing by a point; defeating Westmeath with a polished display; and accounting for Donegal last day out, despite conceding another four goals.

Over the last two weeks the set-up has been endeavouring to fix their defensive frailties and, in light of this, one wonders has the Dublin fixture come a game too soon? “We have been very inconsistent in front of the goals but if we were to compare ourselves to last year, our scoring rate has gone up. So, ultimately, it is trying to find the balance between your defence and attack.

“Our defence, though, is something we are going to have to prioritise the next day, keeping the goals out. We know from playing Dublin, if they turn you over, they will always punish you. And more often than not with goals. So, it is priority to focus on that. We have worked very hard on it in training and on video analysis. Hopefully, it will work out for us on Sunday.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Maree remain in contention after taking spoils in Cork

Keith Kelly

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Connor Curran put in a good shift for Moycullen against Tralee Warriors on Saturday.

GALWAY’S two women’s national league sides tasted victory at the weekend, with Maree claiming a 5-point win away to Fr Mathew’s of Cork in the Super League to keep them second in the table, and confirm their place in the post season play-offs; while NUIG Mystics ended a four-game losing run under when stunning Portlaoise Panthers on their home court in Division 1, although they then tasted defeat at home to Castleisland on Tuesday night.

It was not such a good weekend for Galway’s two national league men’s sides, however, with both Maree and Moycullen suffering heavy defeats to leave them at the wrong end of the table.

WOMEN’S SUPER LEAGUE

Fr Mathew’s 77

Maree 82

Maree’s co-captain, Carol McCarthy, nailed a clutch 3-pointer with less than two minutes left on the clock to wrestle back control of this tight game at the Fr Mathew’s Arena in Cork on Saturday evening.

Maree had led by nine points heading into the last quarter, but led by Irish international Grainne O’Dwyer, the home side ate into that lead to draw level with 1.50 left on the clock, and with Maree in foul trouble, the momentum appeared to be all with the home side.

Claire Rockall inbounded the ball to Dayna Finn deep in the Fr Mathew’s half of the court, and the Irish U-20 international drove towards the basket, sucking in the cover, before dishing the ball to McCarthy on the left, and she hit nothing but net to push Maree 3 ahead.

Finn was then sent to the free-throw line as the home side were forced to foul to win back possession, and she hit both to give Maree some breathing room and see them complete the double over the Cork side in the league.

Maree led 20-17 at the end of the first quarter, with McCarthy hitting seven of their points, including a ‘3’. She also opened the scoring for Maree in the second-quarter with another 3-pointer, and with Aine McDonagh also hitting two 3-pointers in the quarter, Maree had pushed out to a 48-39 lead at half-time.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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