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Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The judge who ordered a €2.50 drinks price minimum in three seaside resort clubs has been told one breached the spirit of his ruling by not charging for mixers with shorts.
Garda Superintendent Leo McGinn told Judge Kevin Kilrane there was an attempt to circumvent what he believed was the "spin" of the order.
The issue was called again at Donegal District Court yesterday to establish whether the Bundoran clubs complied with the order made on Friday.
Two nightclubs — Paris, run by Conor McEniff, and Aqua, run by Thomas Wilmott — were represented at the "conformity" hearing but there was no representation from Jumpin’ Jacks, which served the free mixers.
The court also heard that at one stage over the weekend, Aqua advertised that the first 100 customers at the club would gain free entry and a bottle of beer.
However, the judge was also told the Aqua owners were not informed by gardaí of the Friday order until 6.45pm on Saturday evening.
The judge was told that by Saturday night, all three premises placed signs stating their drinks would cost a €2.50 minimum per single measure.
There was only one public order arrest, and the few warnings that were issued were away from the clubs.
After listening to evidence from the owners of Paris and Aqua clubs that they were prepared to abide by the minimum price order, the judge issued a clarification.
He said that he would not fix a price for mixers but added there must be no inducements like free or semi- free mixers.
He said if mixers were sold for 5c that would "not wash" with him.
He said the late extensions would be revoked if there was a breach of the spirit of his order.
The fixed minimum laid down by Judge Kilrane followed a long-running price war between two nightclubs in the town.
At one stage, shots were available for 50c in Paris because rival Jumpin’ Jacks was offering free drink all night in return for a €20 cover charge.
The judge explained in earlier hearings he wished to end the prices "race to the bottom" to stop public order offences "the length and breath of the country" by intoxicated young people.
Local parents had raised fears about the availability of cheap and free drink for their teenage children.
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