first_imgDONEGAL revellers will be able to go out on Christmas night after all – but it depends on where they live after a Circuit Court judgement today.Judge John O’Hagan heard today from barrister Declan McHugh representing three of five clubs refused special licenses to open after midnight on Christmas night – Jackson’s of Ballybofey, The Fleets Inn in Downings and the Tul-na-Ri in Carndonagh.But the Judge refused their appeals and upheld a decision of the District Court not to allow them to open after hearing concerns for public safety expressed by three senior Gardai. However the court heard that special exemption licenses have been granted for clubs in Bundoran, Liberty’s Club in Buncrana and the Central Bar in Letterkenny. They will all open just after midnight.“Why can’t we just let it be Christmas where people spend the time with their families and taxi drivers and staff members have the night off?” said Judge O’Hagan as he ruled in favour of senior Gardai who had objected to the Ballybofey, Downings and Carndonagh applications.In evidence Supt Eugene McGovern told Donegal Town Circuit Court today that he was not satisfied with transport arrangements in Downings on Christmas night. The club’s owners had offered to lay on buses.But Supt McGovern said every other club in the Milford District which had applied for special exemption licenses and had been refused at the District Court and had not appealed.He said there was a fear that as a result large numbers of people would seek to go to the Fleet’s Inn on Christmas night.“There are a large number of people home this year and we have a real fear for public safety,” he said.He repeated evidence from the District Court in Letterkenny earlier this week that one Garda injured in an incident last Christmas was still off work as a result of being assaulted. A second Garda who was injured in the same incident – not involving the Fleet’s Inn – was also in court today.The Superintendent also referred to an incident in Downings in May and said up to 26 people could appear before the courts as a result.Sgt Kevin Lynch, stationed in Ballybofey, gave evidence in the Jacksons case.He said it was his experience that the level of intoxication on a Christmas night was much higher than on any other night of the year.Inspector David Murphy, objecting to the Tul-na-Ri application told Judge O’Hagan he didn’t accept that no special transport arrangements were needed. The owners, the court heard, had not laid on special taxis or buses for the night. Hackney cabs would have been available however.He said there was an incident outside a chip van after 3am on the same day last year.Inspector Murphy said Gardai had not objected to Liberty’s nightclub opening on Christmas night because officers were happy with transport arrangements there and there had been no incidents in Buncrana last year.“Is there a prejudice against rural Ireland?” asked Barrister McHugh.The Inspector denied this. Mr McHugh said his clients’ believed the decision of Gardai to object to some licenses and not to others was “discrimination against rural people.”He asked the Inspector: “What about everyone descending now on Buncrana from Carndonagh, Moville, Culdaff and Greencastle?”Inspector Murphy said he didn’t believe this would happen.Judge O’Hagan, in his ruling, said the legislation recognises the special role of Gardai in such matters.“They are the best people to judge and their primary concern is public safety,” he said.“I myself have seen that the most frequent departures from reasonable behaviour happens after clubs close when people are intoxicated,” said Judge O’Hagan.“Inevitable public safety fears arise. I am compelled to confirm the decision of the District Court and dismiss the appeal.”At the District Court in Letterkenny earlier this week Judge Paul Kelly has called time on five applications. Neither Patsy Dan’s in Dunfanaghy nor The Bailey in Redcastle had appealed the refusal.Judge Kelly had objected to all five licenses.JUDGE UPHOLDS BAN ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT CLUB OPENINGS was last modified: December 21st, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:BallybofeybuncranabundoranCarndonaghDowningsJUDGE UPHOLDS BAN ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT CLUB OPENINGSletterkennylast_img

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