Panti Bar, one of the country's best known gay venues, has donated €750 to a cancer charity after pleading guilty to breaking the smoking ban.
Pantibar Ltd, the operators of the popular bar on Dublin's Capel Street – run by gay rights activist and drag performer Rory O'Neill aka ‘Panti Bliss’ – was prosecuted by the HSE following an inspection by an environmental health officer.
The company pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to breaking smoking ban regulations and having a cigarette vending machine on the premises, while not being registered to sell tobacco products.
Panti Bar via Google Maps
Environmental health officer Claire Wilde told Judge John O'Neill she went to the bar at about 9.30pm on October 23 last year. There were a number of people using the smoking area which was indoors, the court heard. An exemption exists if the smoking area is an outdoor part of a premises, she said.
There were not any ‘no smoking’ signs on display and the bar had a cigarette vending machine, the HSE officer said.
The court heard that the signage problem had been rectified, they are now registered to sell tobacco and renovation work is being carried out at the smoking area.
Defending council said the venue was a gay bar and smokers had to go out onto the street - but they were “getting interference from passers-by” and the bar “did not want to put patrons in danger’s way”.
They provided the smoking area so “patrons would not be at risk from passers-by on the street”, the defence said. The company, which has no prior convictions, apologised and asked the court for an opportunity to donate money to a cancer charity.
Company director Jay Bourke was in court and gave an undertaking that tobacco would not be sold for the next month.
Judge O'Neill applied the Probation Offenders Act, sparing the company a conviction, after Mr Bourke complied with an order to donate €750 - which will go to the Conquer Cancer charity. Pantibar Ltd also agreed to cover the prosecution costs.