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JD Wetherspoon’s Keavan’s Port Hotel licence renewed following challenge by neighbours

The UK pub giant was granted planning permission in December 2020, and the hotel opened for business in 2021.

A COURT HAS granted JD Wetherspoon Keavan’s Port Hotel a renewal of its publicans licence following a challenge by neighbours with concerns about noise, drinking, and urination by “throngs” of people outside.

The UK pub giant was granted planning permission in December 2020, and the hotel opened for business in 2021.

However, in April 2022, JD Wetherspoon temporarily closed the beer garden in response to noise complaints.

Locals also objected to its plans to erect a 43ft high sound barrier.

Meanwhile, residents brought a separate action before Judge Marie Quirk at Dublin District Court’s licensing list to block the hotel’s annual licence renewal.

Long queues on the footpath outside, waste collection and delivery vehicles blocking a side street to a loading bay also featured in objections heard over three days.

Today, Judge Marie Quirke granted the licence after hearing evidence from new general manager Luke Mannion.

Constance Cassidy SC, for the hotel, asked the court to note the venue was not going to have a late licence, and the beer garden would remain closed until a decision by the local authority or An Bord Pleanála.

Cassidy said her client “regretted” its earlier engagement with locals but had new management at the hotel and proposed several measures to address the concerns.

The court heard JD Wetherspoon was committed to opening more doors at the front, reducing congestion on paths outside and having more door staff regulating shorter queues and preventing throngs.

Bags would be searched on entering the premises to prevent drugs or bottles of drink being smuggled inside.

Another area in the hotel would be open for smokers; security would prevent queues outside from being more than one person deep and would not allow drinking there.

Smaller vehicles would service the hotel loading bay, and Cassidy said her client also proposed regular meetings with residents and a dedicated phone line.

Martin Basquel, who lives beside the hotel, told Dorothy Collins BL, for the objectors, he could not sleep for eight months after opening day, and it had been evident from the start that there would be problems.

He claimed people were urinating on his front door and that there was a noise nuisance, anti-social behaviour, and broken glass outside his home. He said it would be a full-time job to document and monitor everything.

Groups of people, he alleged, queued on the path outside, forcing pedestrians to walk onto Camden Street, one of the city’s biggest arterial routes.

The court heard that the closure of the beer garden led to smokers going outside.

Niamh Bolger told the court via video link that she could not invite family to visit her Camden Street home.

She recalled it was “mayhem” last Christmas because the hotel was the only local licensed premises open on St Stephen’s Day. Patrons were shouting and screaming, and the road was covered in vomit, she said.

Another witness, Professor Niamh Moran, told the court she did not object to the premises itself, “just the way it is being conducted”, and she had concerns about drug dealing and groups of young people on the path.

Cross-examined, she had feared solutions proposed by the hotel would be a “sticky plaster” to the problems.

The hotel contended that not all the issues raised were solely connected to the hotel, and the court heard gardaí were notified of any problems involving drugs in the area.

Community Garda Sergeant Barry Adams described the hotel owner as a responsible licensee.