Limerick nightclub’s new fight to keep smoking area

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

the proprietors of Aubars could have another battle on their hands, after residents living above the popular bar and club made an objection to the license to have tables and chairs outside the premises.

the proprietors of Aubars could have another battle on their hands, after residents living above the popular bar and club made an objection to the license to have tables and chairs outside the premises.

The sole objection to this particular license has been made to An Bord Pleanala, the national planning authority, by Kieran O’Donoghue who lives above the bar and nightclub in an apartment in 50 Thomas Street, which he and his partner Christine Kirwan own. The couple own the three floors overhead Aubars, one of which is used for commercial purposes.

The license application was initially lodged with Limerick City Council, where it was passed last month, but has now been referred to An Bord Pleanala by the appellant, Mr O’Donoghue.

The application was made on January 15, just a number of weeks after a judge at Limerick District Court granted the renewal of the nightclub’s dance license, with conditions attached, following objections by the couple.

The Limerick Chronicle understands that this is the first time that Mr O’Donoghue, who has lived there since 1994, has taken a case to An Bord Pleanala against Aubars Ireland Ltd.

In his objection, Mr O’Donoghue claims that the tables and chairs outside Aubars “effectively entitles its patrons to drink alcohol on the public footpath” at weekends, with noise levels disturbing residents in the six apartments on the second and third floors of the building.

Mr O’Donoghue has submitted photos and video footage to both authorities in relation to noise levels and patrons drinking outside; and the windbreakers and parasols, which he says are blocking the footpath and have not been taken down at night.

He states that this is not allowed under the conditions of the tables and chairs license, nor are outside speakers. In his submission, he urged that the licence be refused because of “persistent breaches”.

Mr O’Donoghue declined to comment further when contacted, as he said he did not wish to interfere or influence the case currently before An Bord Pleanala.

Proprietor Padraic Frawley, of the Cornstore restaurants in Limerick and Cork, has spoken at length regarding the noise levels at the bar. In a previous case he claimed that the couple were “clutching at straws” after making “continuous objections year after year”.

This is the third time Mr O’Donoghue has objected to this particular license. The couple have maintained that previous conditions for various licenses set out by the court have not been abided by.

Mr Frawley said he has invested over €100,000 in Aubars over the past 12 years, but its trade has now been seriously depleted.

In the last court hearing, he said the objector “stands and stares into the smoking area with a camcorder”, which he believes is an invasion of privacy and has been the subject of complaints from staff and customers.

In that hearing, Judge Eugene O’Kelly ordered that people leave the premises by 2.30am and turn off the music by 2am. This case is due to be decided on May 20.