Campaigners welcome refusal of casino licence for Mitchelstown

Local objectors to Perks plan cite 1984 Cork council ban on gaming operations in town

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Campaigners in Mitchelstown, Co Cork against a proposed “casino” in the town have welcomed a court decision to refuse a gaming licence at the premises.

Perks Mitchelstown Ltd applied for a gaming licence for the former Weavers Bar on Lower Cork Street, having received planning permission last year to change the use of the premises to an amusement arcade.

The decision was met with opposition from a local group, the Concerned Citizens of Mitchelstown.

Its appeal against the granting of planning permission was unsuccessful when An Bord Pleanála upheld the decision on the grounds that the objectors’ concerns relating to gambling, and other issues arising from the Gaming and Lotteries Act, were not planning matters.

However, on Thursday, objectors along with Perks made submissions to Judge John King in Mallow District Court.

The objectors highlighted a resolution under Section 13 of the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956 which was passed by Cork Council in 1984 and banned gaming operations specifically in Mitchelstown.

Jurisdiction

Solicitor Daithí Ó Donnabháin, representing Perks, challenged the council resolution in court, saying there was no record that the local authority notified the minister for justice at the time it was passed.

However, the judge said any possible non-compliance with legislative procedure did not invalidate the entire resolution. He said he did not have jurisdiction to grant the application, and it was dismissed.

Speaking outside the court, Martin Lane of the Concerned Citizens of Mitchelstown group said he hoped the message would go out that the town did not want such operations.

“I’m absolutely delighted for the up-and-coming generation of youth in Mitchelstown, that this would not be planted right in the middle of our town where it would become a normal, everyday thing for our children to see a casino while their mothers and fathers are taking them up to the butcher, to the bakers, to the local shop.

“A lot of this is all about branding, and when you brand these things into children’s minds at an early age, they end up gambling.”