Gardaí object to firm run by Traveller 'patriarch' getting licence for pub

Gardaí are objecting to an application by a company with directors who are members of the Travelling community seeking a licence to operate a pub in Rathkeale, Co Limerick.

Five Lamps Inn Public House Limited, with an address in Rathkeale, has made the application before Limerick Circuit Civil Court.

The directors of the company are married couple Patrick and Breda Kealy, with addresses in the UK and at Red Brick House Fairhill, Rathkeale, Co Limerick.


Evidence was initially heard during a sitting of the Circuit Court in Newcastle West on October 10 last, when a number of gardaí gave evidence outlining concerns over the impact on law and order in Rathkeale should the licence for the pub be granted to the applicant.

The State Solicitor for County Limerick, Aidan Judge, while cross-examining Patrick Kealy (59), put it to the witness he was the “patriarch” of the Kealy family, who were involved in a long-running feud with other Traveller families.

Mr Kealy disputed this but said a number of families had “shaken hands”, and there were no ongoing difficulties between the various Traveller families.

The State says there is a “sufficient” number of public houses serving the Rathkeale area, as well as its surrounding hinterland, at all times of the year.

Traditionally, around Christmas time there is a surge in the local Traveller population due to families returning to the town from abroad to spend the festive period with their relatives.

The applicant has disputed other concerns raised by the State over the suitability of the proposed premises located on Main Street, Rathkeale.

The property on Main Street has been vacant for the past number of years and is currently undergoing refurbishment works.

Last month, a hearing in Newcastle West court was told gardaí have had to deploy enormous resources to Rathkeale at certain times of the year to maintain law and order.

In view of this, the State cited concerns over significant law and order enforcement issues in Rathkeale, should the applicant be granted the pub licence.

The matter was listed for hearing of further evidence today at Limerick Circuit Civil Court, sitting in Limerick City, before Judge Eoin Garavan.

However, the matter was adjourned to next week for all parties to present further submissions.

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