Berlin D2 pub to appeal court decision not to renew licences

Judge refused renewal of Dublin bar’s licences after event flouted health guidelines

Berlin D2, in Dublin city centre. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Berlin D2, in Dublin city centre. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

 

The owners of the Berlin D2 pub are to appeal a decision by a District Court judge not to renew its licence.

In the meantime, the pub will be able to continue operating, according to informed sources.

The appeal, to the Circuit Court, could be heard as early as next month. Attempts to secure a comment from the operators of the bar were unsuccessful.

Footage of customers and staff of the Dublin venue flouting the public health guidelines in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic caused a major controversy in August last.

On Wednesday Judge Marie Quirke ruled that it was necessary to refuse the renewal of the bar’s restaurant, theatre, dance, public music and singing licences.

Garda Inspector John Finucane, based at Pearse Street station, formally lodged an objection to the renewal of bar’s various annual licences.

The venue, which employs 30 staff and is owned by Trillium Leisure Ltd, opposed the objection.

Footage from last August showed an event that had been advertised as a Very Boozy Baked Brunch With Your Buds, in the popular bar/restaurant on Dame Lane in Dublin city centre.

One masked staff member could be seen dancing on the bar as he poured shots into dancing customers’ mouths during an event which ran from 1pm to 4pm. It had a DJ and was attended by 46 guests.

Judge Quirke held that the event was clearly in breach of the public health guidelines necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said that the systems in place were not fit for purpose, the bar admitted the breaches, there was no system to prevent intermingling, masks were not worn uniformly by staff, social distancing was not in place, and drinks were served from the counter and not at tables.

The case heard evidence of how on September 10th last two undercover customs officers checked compliance at the venue.

Initially they found the premises was following regulations, but when their 105-minute limit had been reached a waitress and a manager on their own initiative proposed that if they so desired the officers could remain for a further 105 minutes. A new till receipt could be used, the officers were told.

The judge noted that after the August controversy, a shareholder in Trillium, Jay Bourke, and a manager, met with gardaí and provided the CCTV footage. There was full co-operation, she remarked.

The venue’s barrister Dorothy Collins told Judge Quirke that Mr Bourke had ceased involvement in running the bar.

Tony McGillicuddy BL, for An Garda Síochána, submitted that the restaurant was more concerned about the social media reaction than the public health risks or the possibility the event was a potential Covid-19 superspreader.