Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 13 Nov 1929

Vol. 32 No. 8

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Circuit Judge and Gárda Officer.

asked the Minister for Justice if his attention has been drawn to a statement made by Circuit Court Judge Wyse Power at the Clifden sittings of the Galway Circuit Court, as reported in the Dublin morning papers of the 1st instant, that the Gárda Síochána had not carried out their statutory duty of opposing an application for the grant of a new hotel licence in a case in which Mr. Andrew Carolan, manager of the Renvyle Hotel Company, was the applicant; what, if any, instructions were issued officially to the Gárdaí in regard to the application, and if no instructions were issued, can he state who are the people in Dublin who, according to the Judge, instructed the Gárdaí to refrain from carrying out their statutory obligations.

My attention has been drawn to the statement in question, which was obviously a very grave imputation against the local police officers and some higher authorities in Dublin.

I am advised there is no statutory duty on the police or anybody else to oppose an application for a new licence. It is in the discretion of the local police officer to oppose such applications on certain statutory grounds, namely, (a) the character of the applicant; (b) inconvenience or unfitness of the premises; (c) the number of previously licensed houses in the neighbourhood; and there is no binding duty to oppose an application even formally if the officer in his discretion thinks it unnecessary to do so. In the case of Renvyle Hotel, the local officer felt that he could urge nothing against the character of the applicant, that he could urge nothing against the premises, which have been built as a new hotel for tourist traffic in Connemara and contain 70 rooms, and that as regards the number of previously licensed houses he could not very well ground objection to the application, because there were very few licensed houses in the neighbourhood, and none at all in the nature of a big hotel aiming at tourist development. No instructions of any kind were issued to the local officers from Police Headquarters, or from my office or from any other source. These officers acted entirely on their own responsibility in the bona fide exercise of their discretion without instructions from anybody and according to the usual practice in these matters. The practice is not to refer notices of applications for new licences received by local officers to Police Headquarters and, in the particular case of Renvyle Hotel, that practice was followed as a matter of routine.