Judge lifts live music ban on Dublin hotel


A BAN on live music in a hotel in the centre of Dublin’s Temple Bar has been lifted by a judge.

Frank Conway, owner of the Riverhouse Hotel and its Mezz Bar and Think Tank nightclub, had told the Circuit Civil Court he faced ruin if the restriction was not varied or waived.

Circuit Court president Mr Justice Matthew Deery also relaxed strict legal disciplines covering applications Mr Conway may make to the District Court for special exemption orders.

Mr Conway claimed he was curtailed in running a successful business by undertakings he gave the court last year to obtain a licence following objections from local residents, led by The Irish Timesenvironment editor Frank McDonald.

McDonald, who lives in an apartment in Temple Lane, Temple Bar, near the hotel complex, told the court he had been engaged in a 15-year-long campaign against “intolerable noise” emanating from the hotel premises.

He told his counsel, Colm Mac Eochaidh, SC, that at one point he felt his apartment would become uninhabitable because of the noise. He had objected to Mr Conway’s licence application in the District Court and again last year in the Circuit Court.

Michael McDowell SC, who appeared with Dorothy Collins, for Mr Conway, told the court that since giving the undertakings, his client had spent in the region of €80,000 soundproofing his premises. Mr Justice Deery said the sound-proofing work had been very comprehensive. He directed that an alarm trip system be fitted to the hotel fire doors which would trigger an automatic disablement of the amplification system in the Mezz Bar if they were opened. The bar was not a nightclub and never meant to be. The judge also directed that Mr Conway give McDonald and Mr Egan four days notice of applying for special exemption orders in the District Court.

After the hearing, McDonald said he was pleased that Mr Justice Deery had referred to his opposition to Mr Conway’s application as “well-grounded and well-voiced” and that he had also said the rights of residents of the Temple Bar area “have to be respected”.

He noted that the judge had also accepted that the manner in which the management of Riverhouse Hotel was managed had been a “central problem” for residents over the years and that it had also given “serious concern” to the gardai. He declined to comment further, pending consideration of an appeal.