25 March 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A MONAGHAN PUBLICAN who admitted breaching the licencing laws on two occasions inside a nine-month period was fined a total of €700 at Monday’s sitting of Monaghan District Court. A number of customers who were “found on” when the premises was inspected on the first occasion were also before the court.

Martin McCleary (43) of The Shambles Bar, Dublin Street, Monaghan, pleaded guilty to keeping the premises open for the sale of intoxicating liquor outside the allotted trading hours on 1st October 2014 and again on 19th June 2015.

In respect of the offence on Wednesday 1st October 2014, Inspector Ollie Baker explained that Garda Margaret Oliphant noticed that the door to the premises was open at 9.38am (the legal opening time is 10.30am). She entered and observed eight people sitting at the counter, each with a pint of beer in front of them.

On Friday 19th June 2015, Gda Seamus Bruen was on patrol at 10.10am when he noticed that the door to The Shambles Bar was open. He entered the premises and spoke the attendant in the front bar, to where there were no patrons. But on checking the back area, he found three males sitting with fresh glasses of alcohol alongside them.

Mr McCleary had a similar conviction at Monaghan District Court on 18th January 2010, the inspector stated, for which he had been fined €500 (this offence had been detected on 2nd August 2009).


Shane Kennedy, solr, said that his client, generally speaking, ran a very good establishment. At the time of the offences he was attending “pressing business matters” outside the premises, as a result of which he “took his eye off the ball”.

But he was accepting full responsibility for his employees in this instance, and had apologised. Stating that what happened was “just not like him”, Mr Kennedy asked if the court would be minded to consider directing a charitable donation from Mr McCleary rather than convicting him.

While he appreciated that there had been two instances, Mr Kennedy said his client had given assurances that there would be “no repeat” and that he was now taking a much more “hands on” approach. He was there in the mornings now himself.

But Judge Gráinne O’Neill pointed out that Mr McCleary had previously been convicted for the same offence. In this case, he had committed an offence in October 2014 and then again within months of that.

She told the solicitor that if his client had no previous she might be open to what was suggested. But he was before the court for two offences within months of each other, and after a similar previous conviction.

On that basis, the judge imposed a fine of €350 in respect of both offences, allowing three months for the €700 to be paid.

A charge against an employee of Mr McCleary, of “aiding and abetting”, in relation to the first of the above offences was struck out at the request of the prosecution.


Meanwhile, five male patrons aged between 68 and 41 had charges of being “found on” at The Shambles in relation to the incident on 1st October 2014 adjourned to 11th April, at the behest of Paul Boyce, solr, who was acting as agent for George Wright, the solicitor representing the defendants.

In relation to the case of one of the five men, Insp Baker had noted that he had a previous conviction for a similar offence, which had occurred on the earlier occasion in respect of which Mr McCleary had been fined in 2010 for allowing out-of-hours drinking.

Another of the men found on the premises was represented by Mr Kennedy, who said his client was apologising and accepting that he “shouldn’t have been there”.

In relation to this person, Judge O’Neill directed that a donation of €100 be given to Monaghan Drug Awareness. If this were made by 11th April, the charge would be dismissed under the Probation Act; otherwise, a fine of €100 would be imposed and a conviction recorded.

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