Pic: Garda info/Twitter
GARDAÍ have warned they will take a zero-tolerance attitude to people operating so-called ‘shebeens’ in the county after raiding such a premises in Carrowholly, near Westport, on Sunday.
Westport gardaí found four people in a shed on a premises in Carrowholly that had been converted into a bar – with beers on tap, a range of spirits and wines, along with a television and music system, and a stove.
The raid took place at 8pm on Sunday evening on foot of a search warrant received by the gardaí from a district court judge as a result of enquiries carried out as part of Operation Navigation. Gardaí found persons consuming alcohol and informed these persons they were breaching the current Covid-19 regulations in relation to indoor gatherings.
A ‘significant amount of alcohol’ along with accessories associated with pubs, such as taps for draught beer, glasses and cooling units, were seized by the gardaí and a file is being prepared for the DPP in relation to operating without a licence and breaches of Covid guidelines.
Inspector Denis Harrington told The Mayo News that while operating a bar without a licence was a serious offence in normal times, this was particularly serious as it occurred during the worst of a pandemic.
“The strong advice from Gardaí is that you should not be operating a shebeen for obvious reasons, that it is a serious offence, but also because it is in breach of the current Covid guidelines. Because of that we will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to not only people running such premises but also to the people found on them,” Inspector Harrington warned.
The raid on the Carrowholly shebeen followed similar raids in Co Kildare and Co Limerick during the week, but this Mayo shebeen was described as not being as sophisticated or as large as those.
Upon further inspection by gardaí, a fully equipped bar was located with taps for draught stout and lager and a proper cooling unit under the counter. Barrels were kept outside in a deep freeze unit. A sum of cash and documents were also seized.
Inspector Harrington said that he suspected that the Carrowholly shebeen had been operating for a signifiant period of time before its detection but could not say how many people would have regularly frequented it.
He said that the premises was not large enough to cater for over 20 people, and that those found had been cooperative with gardaí. He said he was not able to give a monetary value on the alcohol seized but described it as a ‘significant’ amount and a number of other items were also seized and brought to Westport Garda Station.
An Garda Síochána are appealling to anyone with information about the operation of illegal Shebeens to contact their local Garda Station.
Pic: Garda info/Twitter