Limerick shebeen finally closed as owner fined

AN unauthorised shebeen in a shed behind a family home has finally been closed, a court heard yesterday.

Limerick man Francie Kelly gave an undertaking to dismantle the shebeen, which was in contravention of the city’s planning laws.

He was fined €1,500 and ordered to pay €750 costs.

Insp Gerry McNamara told Limerick District Court he visited a shed at the rear of the Kelly home on Thursday week last, October 8, and was satisfied all bar fittings had been removed.

On an earlier visit, he could not get access and had to speak to Kelly through a letter box, the court had heard.

Judge Tom O’Donnell said fines totalling almost €30,000 could have been imposed. On leaving court yesterday, Francie Kelly said he would continue to drink in his own home.

“The bar is gone but the drink rolls on. I will always drink in my own home unless they lock me up for it. I am going up there now for a drink,” he said.

Due to an outdated provision in the intoxicating liquor laws, the shebeen had been able to continue trading despite numerous Garda raids in which thousands of euro worth of drink was confiscated.

A fixed fine of £50 (€63.29) was imposed at Limerick City Court earlier this year when Anthony Kelly was convicted of being in charge of a shebeen and this was upheld by Limerick Circuit Court.

Limerick City Council successfully secured a ruling from the city court that Francis Kelly was in breach of the Planning Act 2000 by having a premises developed for use as a shebeen without planning.

Senior planning officer Kieran Reeves had told the court he had served an enforcement notice on Francis Kelly to remove an unauthorised development at the rear of the family home in Southill.

Kelly had given an undertaking to comply with the city council’s order and remove the unauthorised development.

But, at the time, Gardaí said they were satisfied drink was being sold in the shebeen, located in a large shed at the rear of the Kelly family home. Two weeks ago, Kelly was warned he faced daily fines if he did not comply with the city council’s order and these could amount to almost €30,000.

Being satisfied the shebeen was now closed, the court yesterday imposed a €1,500 fine with costs.

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