Judge jails publicans for 3 months for breach of smoking ban

Paul Finnegan, proprietor of The Shenanigans pub in Castlebayney, County Monaghan, described by Judge Sean McBride as “totally lawless”, was given a three-month jail sentence in his absence at Carrickmacross District Court for being in breach of the smoking ban and obstructing an HSE inspector last December.

The publican, who failed to appear in court at Carrickmacross for the hearing, was also fined €2,000 for breach of the ban and €1,740.90 in costs.

Maria Myles, also of the Shenanigans Bar, was fined €500 and €1,357.94 in costs in a separate prosecution arising from the incident in which the HSE inspector Richard Willis observed three people smoking in the premises last December, some of whom were wearing school uniforms, it was claimed.

Sarah Myles, in charge of the premises at the time, told the HSE official that she’d not seen the customers smoking but would refer the matter to her employer, Paul Finnegan.

Some time later Richard Willis received a threatening phone call from the publican who he claimed had threatened violence should the inspector return to the premises.

The inspector informed the Gardaí of this threat and Inspector Fintan Mctiernan, prosecuting, pointed out that Paul Finnegan had two previous convictions for breach of the smoking ban at premises in Ballybay and Castleblayney.

In issuing a warrant for his arrest, the judge stated that he was satisfied that the publican  had deliberately failed to attend court and was flouting the law. The judge also fixed recognisances for an appeal at €1,000.

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