A Fianna Fail member of Clare Co Council and ex-publican, Alan O’Callaghan has failed in his objection to the transfer of a publican’s licence for his former Pumphouse pub in rural Clare.
At Killaloe District Court sitting in Ennis, Judge Alec Gabbett dismissed Mr O’Callaghan’s bid to object to the transfer of the licence for the Pumphouse pub at Kilmurry, Sixmilebridge from landlord, Tim Donnellan to his son, Ronan Donnellan.
Judge Gabbett said that he was not satisfied concerning the objection grounds put forward by solicitor for Mr O’Callaghan, Daragh Hassett.
Judge Gabbett said: “I don’t think it is the right way to go about it.”
On behalf of Mr O’Callaghan, Mr Hassett said that he was objecting to the transfer of the licence as Tim Donnellan and another owed his client €5,100.
Mr Hassett said that Mr O’Callaghan has secured a court decree judgement for the €5,100 debt but this has been ignored and Mr O’Callaghan has been effectively getting the ’two fingers’ in his attempts to obtain what is owed to him.
Mr Hassett said: “My client doesn’t do this lightly and in 25 years in practise this is my second time ever to object to the transfer of a licence.”
He said: “Mr O’Callaghan’s debt arises from his occupation of this particular premises and the people involved include the applicant, Tim Donnellan’s son, Ronan Donnellan.”
He added: “It is not that my client is coming to court saying I am owed money by the the licensee, Tim Donnellan for an unrelated matter such as ‘bales of hay’. The debt arises from Mr O’Callaghan’s previous occupation of the pub whilst the previous licensee and a paying tenant”.
Mr Hassett argued that “it is inappropriate for the court to grant the applicant who is the debtor’s son here a new licence in circumstances where he is well aware of a debt owed”.
Mr Hassett said that Tim Donnellan and Ronan Donnellan “are involved as a family in the pub and both know all about this debt”.
He said: “There is a decree for judgement obtained here. It wasn’t contested. I wrote to them and gave them every chance to come and there been zero engagement.”
Mr Hassett said that Mr O’Callaghan occupied the premises from 2009 to 2022 and paid deposits totalling €12,100 and then he worked that down by consent and when he left the premises and he was owed €5,100
Mr Hassett said that Mr O’Callaghan “co-operated fully with the hand-over and co-operated fully with the new operator on the basis that he would be paid his money”.
Mr Hassett said that Ronan Donnellan got involved with his client and made some ham-fisted excuse where he told his client ‘there are two fridges damaged here so we don’t owe you anything’ .
Mr. Hassett said his client will say that is not accurate and stated the fridges spoke of were in the pub when his client commenced his lease.
In response, solicitor for Ronan Donnellan, Stiofan Fitzpatrick said: “I don’t accept what is being said. It is a civil matter and an enforcement matter. It is separate to this. This is a licensing matter.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said that Ronan Donnellan is not the person who owes money to anyone.
Mr Fitzpatrick added that Mr Hassett has a number of options open to him where he can enforce the decree through the civil procedure. Mr Fitzpatrick said: “He has got his decree and it is up to him to enforce that.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said that he was not the person who received correspondence on the matter.
Dismissing the grounds of Mr Hassett’s objections and approving the licence transfer, Judge Gabbett said “there is no father or son who is liable for each other’s debts”.