Carrig Rua Hotel in Dunfanaghy ordered to shut its bar

A popular tourist hotel in Dunfanaghy has been ordered to shut its bar.

The Carrig Rua Hotel was ordered to stop selling alcoholic drink at 5 o'clock last evening, with Donegal District Court told the hotel is fully booked for the coming days, as this is a Bank Holiday weekend in Northern Ireland.

Donegal Circuit Court heard the hotel hadn’t been licensed to sell drink for three years and there were eight prosecutions pending in the District Court.

None of those are against Caretaker Manager Anne Sweeney, an Independent candidate in the recent General Election.

The action to shut the bar down was brought by the State. The court was told that none of summonses for breaches were against caretaker manager Ann Sweeney, although she admitted she was serving alcohol since last July.

Judge Miriam Reynolds told Ms Sweeney, who runs her independent New Island political party from the hotel, that she was allowing guests to stay because they would have already travelled a long way to Donegal.

But the judge laid down directions that gardai must be allowed enter to check there is no drink being served although there is a seafood festival this weekend.

She gave Ms Sweeney until next Thursday to arrange alternative accommodation for guests staying beyond that date.

The court heard that in complicated separate legal proceedings there was a dispute between Stopside Ltd and Irish Nationwide Building society over who owns the title to the hotel.

Until that was resolved it could not have a licence.

Ms Sweeney accepted she was trading without a licence, but she understood that was possible while the other issues were resolved.

Judge Reynolds ordered that no alcohol be served, but she ordered that guests be permitted to stay in the hotel, and eat in a dining-room separate from the bar.

She said she didn’t want to send out a message to visitors to Donegal that “they have no place to stay.”