Belfast Telegraph

Disco deaths Cookstown hotel restricts itself to weddings and private functions

The Greenvale Hotel
The Greenvale Hotel
Owner: Michael McElhatton
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

The Co Tyrone hotel where three teenagers died in a St Patrick's Day crush will restrict events to weddings and private functions ahead of a full entertainment licence renewal later this year.

Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and Connor Currie (16) died outside the Greenvale Hotel while queuing to get into a disco at the popular Cookstown venue on March 17.

More than 600 people had gathered outside before the crush, police said.

Members of Mid Ulster District Council's environment committee met in private session last night to undertake a review of the hotel's entertainment licence.

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Morgan Barnard

The council had asked Greenvale owner Michael McElhatton to provide information on additional measures put in place to ensure public safety.

The committee agreed to a proposal from the hotel to restrict its entertainment activity to weddings and private functions.

The hotel must provide the council with two months' notice of any proposed variation of this agreement.

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Owner: Michael McElhatton

Following the meeting the committee agreed to defer a final decision until October, when the Greenvale's entertainment licence is due for renewal.

However, a council spokeswoman said last night that "the committee reserves the right to review the entertainment licence at any stage prior to renewal".

Over 50 people are employed at the hotel.

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Connor Currie

A phased reopening of a limited number of facilities has been ongoing over recent weeks.

The decision comes as the Barnard, Bullock and Currie families mark one month since the tragedy.

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the Month's Mind Masses for the three young people in their respective churches in Dungannon, Donaghmore and Edendork later today.

The PSNI and Mid Ulster District Council are carrying out separate investigations into the tragedy.

The police faced criticism after the first officers to arrive on the scene withdrew over safety concerns.

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Seventeen-year-old Lauren Bullock

Chief Constable George Hamilton has referred that matter to the Police Ombudsman. Mr McElhatton (52) and another man were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and later released pending further investigation.

Mr McElhatton was also arrested on suspicion of possession of a class A drug with intent to supply.

After forensic testing of the substance, however, he was quickly dearrested.

He issued a statement accusing police of blackening his name and causing upset for many people who were already distressed.

Police later said white powder found in a clear plastic bag during a search of Mr McElhatton's home was an "innocent substance".

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