One club in the north-west has been able to breach a Garda crackdown on alcoholic drinks sales on Christmas night.
Paris night-club in Bundoran was today given court permission to sell drinks from midnight on Christmas night until 2 a.m. on St Stephen’s Morning.
Judge Kevin Kilrane gave permission “reluctantly” after owner Conor McEniff assured him there would be no trouble and he would provide mini-buses to take people home.
In North Donegal, the clubs are barred from selling drink after midnight since last year although there was previously a unique Donegal tradition of Christmas drinks in night-clubs.
Inspector Donal Sweeney told Sligo District Court that gardai, who would be “thin on the ground” that night, had fears there wouldn’t be enough taxis or public transport to carry Christmas night crowds.
He said gardai were also concerned about public order offences.
Mr McEniff said Christmas night celebration in clubs was a tradition and he remembered going to his first one 25 years ago when he was 18.
For the past 13 years he received a late-drinks licence after midnight on Christmas night.
He told the court that pubs in the border town of Belleek in Co. Fermanagh – only seven miles from Bundoran – would be selling drink from 7 or 8 pm on Christmas night, and he expected only about 250 local people would be visiting his club.
He did not anticipate there would be a rush of people from North Donegal, because when their clubs weren’t open, they mostly travelled to Derry.
Granting the extension, Judge Kilrane observed: “We shall see if the people in North Donegal stop at Barnesmore Gap.”