Fined: The Copper Room on O'Connell Street
A WINE bar and restaurant in Limerick has been fined €2,500 for breaching the smoking ban.
Still or Sparkling Limited, which trades as the Copper Room, O’Connell Street, was prosecuted by the Health Service Executive for an offence which was detected on November 11, last.
Solicitor Barry Kelleher, representing the HSE, told Limerick District Court the charge, under Section 47 of the Public Health (Tobacco) Act 2002 was brought after two Environmental Health Officers visited the premises at around 7.30pm.
Judge Flann Brennan was told when they entered the premises three women (customers) were observed smoking under an enclosed space next to one of the alcoves which is located under the main road.
While the area is outdoors, one of EHOs said it was roofed and fully enclosed on three sides – meaning it was in breach of the regulations.
She added that it was not possible to make the area compliant.
Eight ashtrays were observed in the immediate area and Judge Brennan was told there was also signage indicating the area was the “designated smoking area” for customers.
While an ashtray was observed in another area at the rear of the wine bar, nobody was observed smoking there on the night.
Judge Brennan was told there is a cigarette vending machine in the premises but that no sales were observed during the inspection.
The court was told that having informed staff of their presence, there was a general discussion in relation to what was described in court as the “history of non-compliance” at the Copper Room.
While just one offence was before the court, evidence was outlined in relation to a number of other breaches before and since last November’s inspection.
Solicitor Alec Gabbett said there has been a dispute in relation to the designation of the alcove and that his client has engaged an engineer in recent months.
He told Judge Brennan the breach was “largely down to a misinterpretation” of the regulations and that the directors and management have introduced measures to ensure there will be no more smoking in the area.
Imposing sentence, Judge Brennan said the only mitigating factor in the case was the company’s guilty plea.
He said the non-compliance since was an aggravating factor which he had to consider.
He imposed a fine €2,500 and directed that the costs of the HSE, which totalled €3,700, also be paid.
Recognizance was fixed in the event of an appeal.