Ex-Limerick hurler in court over running of pub without licence

Gardaí found customers in pub with full drinks after 3.35am on St Stephen’s night

Judge Marian O’Leary ordered David  Clarke to pay €500 to the court poor box. If paid, Judge O’Leary said she would apply the Probation Act

Judge Marian O’Leary ordered David Clarke to pay €500 to the court poor box. If paid, Judge O’Leary said she would apply the Probation Act

 

Former Limerick hurler David Clarke has appeared in court for operating his pub without a licence. Mr Clarke (47), of Clarke’s bar, Main Street, Bruff, pleaded guilty to “trading without a licence” under the Licensing Act.

Insp Sandra Heelan said at 3.35am on St Stephen’s night last year gardaí noticed the door of Clarke’s bar was open. There were a number of people exiting, and inside there were about 20 people, some with full drinks.

Gardaí asked to see the last till receipt, and it was 3.15am. They asked to inspect the defendant’s licence. It had expired on September 30th, 2018.

Brendan Gill, solicitor for the All-Star wing back, told Kilmallock District Court there was a “technical difficulty” in his client renewing his licence due to the “spike in business from Limerick’s All-Ireland win”.

He said his client completed his licence renewal and included a cheque for €505 in excise duty as normal. It was done through his accountant. The cheque was cashed by Revenue on October 19th. He assumed the licence had been returned to his accountant and there were no difficulties.

“He saw that the cheque had been cashed,” said Mr Gill.

However, following the request to produce the licence by gardaí, Mr Clarke made inquiries and learned that the licence had not been processed.

“Due to a spike in business in 2018 – mainly due to Limerick’s All-Ireland win – the excise duty had increased from €505 to €1,140. He paid the extra money and the licence was issued in February 2019. The excise duty was back to €505 this year,” said Mr Gill.

The excise duty on renewal of a publican’s licence is based on the annual turnover of the premises.

The solicitor made an application to Judge Marian O’Leary to apply the Probation Act due to “the circumstances and the potential seriousness of a conviction of this nature.”

Judge O’Leary ordered Mr Clarke to pay €500 to the court poor box. If paid, Judge O’Leary said she would apply the Probation Act.