THE owner of a mobile chip van who admitted operating in the car park of a city hotel without a casual traders licence has been told by a judge to familiarise himself with the law.
John O’Donnell, aged 40, of Fiddane, Newport, Co Tipperary appeared before Limerick Court after he was prosecuted in relation to an incident in the car park of the Kilmurray Lodge Hotel earlier this year.
Sgt Derek Deloughrey, Henry Street, said the defendant was operating a chip van at the entrance to the student nightclub when gardai arrived at the premises after receiving a complaint from the owner of a nearby takeaway.
Mr O’Donnell, who represented himself in court, argued he was operating on private property and he submitted that he did not need a casual trading licence to operate there on the night.
“I was invited in by the owner of the hotel who approached me to do the catering. It was a private arrangement,” he said claiming that vendors who operate outside venues such as Thomond Park and the Gaelic Grounds do not require licences.
The defendant told the court he also regularly operates his chip van at a privately-owned industrial estate in the Ballysimon area.
Sgt Deloughrey told the court that all casual traders require a licence from the relevant local authority to operate in areas where the public have access.
When asked by Judge Eugene O’Kelly to clarify the law, the sergeant said the incident at the Kilmurray Lodge Hotel was an offence because members of the public were entering and exiting the nightclub on the night.
In reponse, Mr O’Donnell said he didn’t realise he needed a licence and he said it was an “innocent mistake”.
Judge O’Kelly accepted the defendant had not knowingly broken the law and he suggested there may be difficulties with him operating his chip van in the Ballysimon area.
“You have to familiarise yourself with the law,” he told Mr O’Donnell who was ordered to make a €50 contribution to the court poor box.