Updated: 27/01/17 : 05:27:47
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Sligo nightclub's 'bring your own booze' event axed

A Sligo publican’s novel plan to allow customers bring their own drinks into a nightclub in order to boost numbers at a music gig has been rejected by a judge as a “desperate scheme and a recipe for chaos”.

Judge Kevin Kilrane refused an application to Sligo District Court for a special exemption to allow people to bring in their own drink for an event next Thursday night.

The publican, Daniel McGarrigle, on behalf of Sixth at Teeling nightclub, said he was trying to react to a changing market among students, where off-licences and house parties were his main competitors.

But the judge said the idea was “wrong from beginning to end and impossible to control”.

Mr McGarrigle, a former Sligo Borough Councillor,  told the court he was in the business of selling alcohol and providing entertainment, but he was facing falling numbers and spending.

The idea, he said, was to allow people to bring in four cans of alcohol and 500ml of mixed spirits.

According to Gerry McLoughlin writing in The Irish Times, Judge Kilrane said this was a half litre of spirits and he wondered who was going to determine the concentration of alcohol.

Mr McGarrigle said customers would be searched as they came in and given wristbands inside so they would not be able to bring in more alcohol. He said he had run a similar event earlier in the year and it was successful. Customers would be coming into a controlled environment rather than drinking in houses.

The court was told the applicant had spent €14,000 on hiring a high-profile band and 840 tickets had already been sold. The event had been advertised heavily.

Mr McGarrigle said he would be prepared to impose further restrictions, including limiting people to bringing in just four cans and no spirits. The judge said the thought of people bringing in 500ml of spirits was “frightening” and “beggared belief”. The concept was “wrong from start to end”.

He said there was a possibility of people selling alcohol to each other in the nightclub and it would be impossible to control. “There would be chaos. It’s a crazy scheme”, he said, refusing the application.

An application for an ordinary exemption for the nightclub is due to be heard at Carrick-on-Shannon District Court on Friday.