A JUDGE has ruled that a well-known publican is “not in possession” of the premises, which he has been running for almost two decades.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly made his ruling as he granted an application to transfer the licence relating to the North Star Bar, Thomondgate to the owner of the building.
William O’Donnell, who has operated the bar for the last 17 years opposed the application for an “ad-interim” transfer, which was made at Limerick Court by Paddy Meenihan.
In his evidence, Mr Meenihan said he inherited the property from his late father and that he had entered into a lease arrangement with Mr O’Donnell in 1995.
He told the court that any rental income from the property was for his mother’s pension.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told Mr O’Donnell secured a 20 year lease in 2000 but that thousands of euro in rent has not been paid and remains outstanding.
Mr Meenihan said the premises was “completely closed” between August 17 and September 30, last and he said when he entered the pub at 7am on October 13 there was no stock present and the electricity had been cut off.
He submitted to the court that Mr O’Donnell was not “in possession” of the premises when the licence was renewed in September.
When asked why he was bringing the application, Mr Meenihan said “my intention is to get it up and running and give it to a new tenant”.
In his evidence, William O’Donnell denied the pub had been closed for six weeks during August and September.
“The premises was open every day. The only time it was closed was after 6 on Tuesday and Wednesday’s because trade was quiet,” he said.
Mr O’Donnell said the licence would not have been renewed if his tax affairs were not in order and he said he did not owe any money to suppliers.
Under cross examination, he said he had cut off the electricity “for a couple of days” as he was going on holidays.
He said there was no stock present when Mr Meenihan called as he was painting the premises at the time.
Judge O’Kelly said the Court “did not find it credible” that the ESB would be disconnected by someone going away for a few days and he said he was ruling that Mr Meenihan “has gone into posession” of the premises.
While granting the application, the judge stressed he was not making any ruling in relation to the lease agreement that has been in place since 2000.