PantiBar, one of the country’s best-known gay venues, yesterday donated €750 to a cancer charity after pleading guilty to breaking the smoking ban.
PantiBar Ltd, operator of the bar on Capel St in Dublin — which is run by 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 yesterday 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.
Environmental health officer Claire Wilde told Judge John O’Neill she went to the bar at about 9.30pm on October 23. There were a number of people using the smoking area which was indoors; an exemption exists if the smoking area is an outdoor part of a premises, she said, adding that there were no signs on display to indicate that patrons were not allowed to smoke.
The court heard that the signage issue had been rectified, that PantiBar is now registered to sell tobacco, and renovation work is ongoing at the smoking area.
Defence counsel said the venue was a gay bar and smokers had to go out onto the street but were “getting interference from passersby” and the bar “did not want to put patrons in danger’s way”.
It provided the smoking area so “patrons would not be at risk from passersby on the street”, counsel said. The company, which has no prior convictions, apologised.
Company director Jay Bourke gave an undertaking that tobacco would not be sold for the next month.
Judge O’Neill applied the Probation of 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.
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