A group of neighbours have failed to call time on three popular Malahide pubs after claiming outdoor serving caused noise and public drinking problems in the area.
Three locals challenged the licences of Gilbert & Wright, Gibney’s and Fowlers pubs on New Street in the heart of the north Co Dublin village. The case went before the Dublin District Court’s licensing judge.
The pubs, which had never previously faced objections to their licences, had been allowed to serve alcohol in specific outdoor seating areas. However, the street furniture became the source of complaints from three neighbours.
Mary Lynch and Nicola Byrne, from Old Street, and Majella Dunne, New Street, in Malahide, jointly lodged objections.
They had claimed there was a persistent nuisance due consumption of alcohol on a public road and other places outside the boundaries of the licensed premises without supervision or oversight.
Due to the pending objection, the pubs employing 300 people were forced to put staff on protective notice.
They rejected the complaints but acknowledged that the area was more crowded during concerts at nearby Malahide Castle every June.
However, they gave commitments, including warning customers not to drink in public areas.
Judge Marie Quirke heard they had operated for decades without any objections until Fingal County Council allowed outdoor seating with limited numbers during the pandemic. The street furniture has to be brought in by 10 o’clock.
Constance Cassidy SC, acting for the three pubs, accused the objectors of “male fides” and not coming to court “with clean hands” because they had already objected to the pubs’ next annual licence application while this matter was still pending.
Ms Cassidy, instructed by solicitor John Hennessy, stressed that publicans wished to move on in a neighbourly way, and they had drafted a list of commitments in writing to be lodged in court.
Garda Insp Oliver Woods told the judge the publicans were honest, decent people who ran their premises in an orderly manner, and he had no objection to the renewal of the licences.
Judge Quirke noted the concerns raised by three residents. However, she said she was putting it down to “teething problems” with street furniture and people getting used to life after Covid.
She granted the licences but ordered that public footpaths must not be impeded and there must be no drinking, “even taking a sip”, on them because they weren’t in the designated outdoor seating areas.
Street furniture must be removed per the council’s conditions. The pubs must put up signs about drinking outside.
Staff must be vigilant and notify gardaí of anti-social behaviour and report beaches of by-laws, and the pubs must maintain CCTV. The pubs must request additional marshals from the council for the concerts.
She warned that any proven breaches would result in serious concerns when the pubs apply for their next annual licences.
Earlier, in a separate action, Judge Quirke had rejected the same residents’ attempt to block a liquor licence to serve alcoholic drinks at next month’s concerts at Malahide Castle.