Gardaí call time on city bars’ late night drinksAugust 14, 2012 - 8:36am
AN Garda Síochána has ‘called time’ on its lenient policing of exemptions to opening hours of the city’s late night pubs – Galway’s late bars will have to close at the legal extended time of 1am from now on, and not 2am as was widely assumed by the drinking public and practiced by publicans.
Galway Gardaí have confirmed to the Connacht Sentinel that a number of inspections have been carried out in recent weeks on city centre pubs to ensure they are complying with licensing laws in relation to opening hours, and in particular late night exemptions.
A spokesperson at Galway Garda Station said that there were no prosecutions pending following the inspections carried out at night in bars and pubs in the city in the past month.
However, it is understood the clampdown on late-night bars is causing disquiet among some publicans.
The law as it stands now is that pubs are allowed serve until 11.30pm, Monday to Thursday, and until 12.30am on Friday and Saturday with a half-hour ‘drinking up’ time.
Publicans wishing to open later can apply for exemptions to the local courts but these extensions only allow, and have always only allowed, for drink to be served up to 1am, with a half-hour drink up time, and not 2am as is the perception.
There was an ‘unwritten agreement’ between the late night pubs and Gardaí that the venues that had paid €440, per night, per premises, per extension, could stay open until 2am.
So, even though the late bars were not strictly allowed stay open past 1am, the Gardaí effectively threw a ‘blind eye’ to the practice. It seems, not anymore, however, as a new licensing sergeant in Galway appears to be implementing the ‘letter of the law’, which prompted the latest series of inspections.
Continued on Page 4 of the Sentinel