A teetotal elderly couple and their son were refused drink in a Co Limerick pub, when all they wanted was lemonade.
Shortly after they dropped into the The Idle Hour Bar in Effin for a soft drink things turned sour.
The incident was recalled at Kilmallock District Court when Cornelius Hegarty snr, aged 79; his wife, Bridget, aged 78 and their son, Cornelius jnr, aged 57 sought damages from the pub owner, Sean Kenny, under the Equal Status Ac.
Mr Hegarty jnr, who runs an equestrian school in England told Judge Marian O’Leary that accompanied by his parents, he went to The Idle Hour Bar in Effin, on the evening of September 1, 2015.
He said: “ I hadn’t been there for years. I was home in the country for a few days. My parents are old so I helped them sit down. I asked the lady behind the bar for two bottles of lemonade. She disappeared, I was waiting for 10 minutes. When she came back she said there was a ‘private function in the pub’.
“I told my mum and dad that the lady is refusing to serve us and my mum said we better go home.
“She gave us no reason and there was no sign of any function being held. I nearly went down through the ground. My mother and father don’t bother with pubs,” Mr Hegarty jnr said.
Bridget Hegarty said she “nearly got a heart attack” after her son told her what happened.
Cornelius Hegarty snr, asked how he felt, told the court: “How do you think I felt? I was never inside in that pub in my life.”
Brendan Gill, solicitor for the publican, said Sean Kenny only purchased the premises two months previously and it was “essentially a misunderstanding”.
Sean Kenny said he wasn’t present on the night.
He said: “It was the launch of Effin GAA’s lottery draw. My instructions to the person working in the bar were to serve the people at the function. It is the first time I’ve run a pub. I apologise if any embarrassment was caused.”
Denis Linehan, solicitor for the Hegarty’s said; “My clients are here to hear the apology and I’m sure they graciously accept it. Their feelings have been hurt and they are entitled to some redress.”.
Judge O’Leary said: “The Hegartys are very upset people who have never drank in their lives and to be refused a drink. They should, of course, have been served.”
She awarded €300 each to Cornelius Hegarty jnr, Cornelius Hegarty snr and Bridget Hegarty, and costs of €250 to Mr Hegarty jnr, who had travelled from the UK for the case
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