Belfast Telegraph

Irish lawyers called to bar as court opens in pub

By Gordon Deegan

A desperate search for a new court venue for one region in the Republic of Ireland has ended up with the Courts Service striking a deal with a pub.

Court officials confirmed yesterday that those charged with a multiple of offences -- including assaults, public order breaches and motoring offences -- will beat a path down to O'Donovan's bar and restaurant in Ballina on the shores of Lough Derg, Co Clare, from January 3.

This is the date when court sittings for the east Clare area will start on a trial basis as the new venue for Killaloe District Court.

Publican Michael O'Donovan yesterday assured users that the bar would not be open during court times.

Mr O'Donovan said that soup would be provided by the business for the court users.

The deal between the Courts Service and O'Donovan's followed an inspection by court officials.

A spokesman for the Courts Service said: "O'Donovan's bar and restaurant has been identified as a place for court sittings on a temporary basis. We are quite happy that we have identified reasonable facilities."

The previous venue for the court, the Kincora Hotel in Killaloe, went into receivership and since September court users have been forced to make a 64-mile round-trip from Killaloe to Ennis for sittings. However, the new venue is just 1km away from the old one.

According to a statement from the Courts Service, the court will sit there for a trial period of three months with an option of extending the lease on a monthly basis.

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