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Judge fails to grant pub licence for island centre

Judge fails to grant pub licence for island centre

Anton McNulty

AN application by the Clare Island Community Centre Committee for a seven-day publican’s licence was unsuccessful at Wednesday’s sitting of Clifden Circuit Court. However, the presiding judge did admit that the application would be looked at again if certain planning issues were addressed.
The committee of the Clare Island Community Centre had made the application for a seven-day publican’s licence because they felt their current club licence was restrictive. During the course of the application, they had argued that the licensed aspect would be beneficial to communities activities which already were taking place in the centre.
However, in making his judgement, Judge Raymond Groarke said that if he came to that conclusion he would be ‘engaging in fiction’ and he could not do that.
He said it seemed to him that when the plans for the centre were being drawn, the local authority never contemplated the premises would have been used as ‘a licenced premises of any sort, club or seven-day licence’.
He felt a number of issues raised by objectors surrounding the centre were of a planning nature rather than a licensing issue and he could not rule on such issues.
Judge Groarke told the committee he could not grant their application but rather than turning the application down altogether, he adjourned it to allow the applicant, if they wished, to apply to the planning authority for planning permission in order to allow them to use the centre as a licensed premises.
He said if they got planning permission they could reapply for the licence but warned that he would not allow the matter to drag on.
The conclusion of the application was heard in Clifden on Wednesday after it was part heard in Castlebar, with up to 50 islanders travelling to the Connemara town.
Evidence was heard from Mr Jim Cox, who objected to the application on the grounds that he plans to develop a lodge on the island, which would need to be a licensed premises. He said he planned to employ 16 people but admitted his project would not go ahead if the Community Centre got a publican’s licence.

See next week’s Mayo News for more on Judge Groake’s ruling.