Judge awards drinks license for train station…..in Donegal

Millionaire entrepeneur Sir Gerry Robinson is on the right track after securing a license to sell alcohol at a train station on his massive country estate.

The former head of Granada Television now lives in Raphoe, Co Donegal with his wife Lady Heather Robinson.

But yesterday he was granted a rather unusual request after making an application under a 1902 law at Buncrana Circuit Court.

The popular couple, who open up their lavish Oakfield Park Estate to the public each year for charity, will be able to sell alcohol at the Difflin Lake Railway.

Under the 1902 Licensing (Ireland) Act a new licence can only be granted to existing premises where a licence has expired, or to a railway refreshment room.

The train lover has developed a four and a half kilometre narrow guage miniature railway around the 100 acre estate which is open to the public as a tourist attraction.

Each year he takes geat pleasure in driving the train around the estate for hundreds of lucky children.

At yesterday's court, the couple's barrister, Peter Nolan applied to Judge John O'Hagan for a licence for the railway refreshment room at the station.

Evidence was heard at the court that the Railway at Oakfield was defined as a railway in accordance with the Railway Act.

Lady Heather Robinson confirmed that the railway , complete with steam locomotive, even accepted paying passengers who had to purchase tickets.

She told the court there was currently a refreshment room and seating area in a fenced off area at the station.

"I can almost smell the steam," commented Judge O'Hagan before granting the licence in what he described as an "absolutely unique application".

"I don't think there is a judge in the country who has heard an application for a railway refreshment room, probably since the foundation of the state," he added.

The judge wished the couple well in their tourism enterprise.