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Rock Bingo declared "lawful", will open on New Year's Day

The bingo hall in Togher, Cork, had been closed following a garda raid in November. The High Court has declared the operation to be lawful and it will open on new year’s day.

The empty Rock Bingo hall in November
The empty Rock Bingo hall in November
Image: Gerard McCarthy

THE CORK BINGO hall that was closed down following a garda raid earlier this year will reopen its doors on New Year’s Day at 7pm.

Rock Bingo will open on 1 January, 2012 at the old Waters Glass premises in Togher, Cork, two months after its bingo books were seized during a garda raid.

The brand new 1,000-seater entertainment facility in the city employs 30 staff.

It was set for its grand opening on 1 November when gardaí arrived with a search warrant and the business was closed.

The High Court declared the bingo operation to be a lawful enterprise at the beginning of December and the Barber family who own the business decided to leave the opening until 1 January.

Dave Barber, one of the owners, said:

After a very frustrating number of months it gave us huge pleasure to be able to finally contact our staff and let them know that they had jobs to come to at the very start of 2012. They have been very patient with us and unfortunately it took us this length of time to deal with some unnecessary interference that threatened the whole enterprise.

Rock Bingo will be the first of its type in Cork and once fully operational the facility will be open seven days a week.

As part of the legislation surrounding such operations, Rock Bingo must work with beneficiary partners, which can include license holding charities and non-profit organisations.

Barber commented: “It has always been our clear preference that we want to work with worthy Cork charities and other valid causes and we are still working hard with a number of such organisations to make this happen.”

He added that he has been surprised by public objections from local groups who operate their own bingo nights and claim that their  fundraising efforts will be seriously affected by Rock Bingo.

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He said:

They have never made representations to us at any stage so we were quite surprised to hear they were objecting to other charities. We genuinely don’t see us affecting their fundraising efforts with their own members and believe that we will attract a new audience to bingo in Cork, which could actually benefit them. We quite publicly made it clear that we were more than happy to meet with any organisation who wished to discuss being a beneficiary partner of Rock Bingo.

He said that so far none of the organisations concerned had taken up the offer to speak to the owners of Rock Bingo.

The family are now looking forward to the opening, with Barber saying:

We have invested heavily in so many ways in this new business and we hope that finally we can leave the past few months behind all of us and open the doors to Cork’s newest entertainment complex, where people can come and enjoy Bingo  for many years to come in Cork.

Read: Bingo operators vow to stage comeback after garda raid>

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