Barmen 'untrained on alcohol danger'


THE TRIAL of two bar staff accused of the manslaughter of a British man in a Co Tipperary hotel has heard that both accused had no training on the potential dangers of fatal doses of alcohol and were told to meet the needs of hotel guests, including serving them drinks.

Bar manager at Hayes Hotel in Thurles, Gary Wright (34), and barman Aidan Dalton (28), both from Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary, deny the manslaughter of Graeme Parish through gross negligence.

It is alleged the bar staff served Mr Parish (26) eight shots of spirits in a pint glass at the hotel bar, which he downed in one go, a few hours before he was found dead from alcohol poisoning.

Mr Parish, a civil engineer from east Lancashire in England, had been celebrating his birthday with a group of co-workers at the bar when he allegedly challenged them to a drinking bet – that he could down a half pint of spirits faster than anyone else could drink a half pint of beer.

Hotel manager Gerry McGovern agreed in court that one of the main duties of the two accused was to ensure “all reasonable care was taken” for all guests at the hotel.

Mr McGovern, who has been manager of the hotel for the past 22 years, and continues to be so, also agreed that bar staff at the hotel were supposed to follow a number of unwritten rules, including not to serve alcohol to those considered by staff as having too much drink taken. He said the rule was not to serve alcohol if the person was “stumbling”, and bar staff should check to see whether a customer was “OK on their feet”.

He admitted Mr Wright and Mr Dalton had not received any training on the potential dangers of fatal doses of alcohol. Mr McGovern also told Nenagh Circuit Court that job descriptions for the accused men, which were supposed to have been read and signed by the two accused when they started working at the hotel, could not be located.

It was heard that one of the codes of conduct for bar staff was that if they were wilfully disobedient they would be in breach of their work practices.

Mr McGovern said the two accused were still working at the hotel, and described them as “intelligent”, “hard-working” and “responsible”.

Michael Delaney, defending Mr Wright, put it to Mr McGovern: “One of the main jobs for bar staff is to dispense orders accurately and to ensure the guests’ needs and requirements are met. Do you take it that if an order is made that order is met?” Mr McGovern said: “Yes.”

Evidence was also heard that Garda Margaret Leahy, Thurles Garda station, arrived at the hotel shortly after 6am on July 1st, 2008, and found Mr Parish on the floor of a conference room, where he was left to “sleep it off” some six hours previously by four men who were drinking with him.

Garda Leahy told the court that when she checked Mr Parish for life signs he had no pulse and was “cold to touch”. Garda Leahy added that his skin was blue.

The court heard the receipt record relating to drinks for Mr Parish and five of his co-workers at the hotel bar went from 6.25pm until 10.51pm on June 30th, 2008. The receipt had been printed at 10.53pm on the same date, the court heard.

Under cross-examination of Garda Leahy by Aidan Doyle, defending Mr Dalton, it was heard that at 10.39pm on the night in question, Mr Dalton sold an order of €30 worth of shots of spirits. The court accepted this equated to “eight shots of spirits or four doubles”, as each single shot cost €3.60.

The trial continues.