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JD Wetherspoon’s Keavan’s Port Hotel licence challenged by neighbours

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

NEIGHBOURS OF THE JD Wetherspoon Keavan’s Port Hotel in Dublin have launched a legal challenge to its licence citing noise, drinking, drugs and public urination by “throngs” of people outside the venue.

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 have opened a separate action before Judge Marie Quirk at Dublin District Court’s licensing list to block the hotel’s annual licence renewal.

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

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

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.

Questioned by Constance Cassidy SC, for the hotel, he said he received the same platitudes from the hotel, which he accused of failing to provide sufficient attention to residents.

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.

JD Wetherspoon intended to open more doors at the front, reduce congestion on paths outside and have more door staff regulating queues and preventing throngs.

The hotel security would prevent them from being more than one person deep and would not allow drinking in the queue. Smaller vehicles would service the hotel loading bay, and Cassidy said her client also proposed regular meetings with residents.

Niamh Bolger told the court via video-link that she could not invite family to visit her Camden Street home and recalled that it was “mayhem” last Christmas because the hotel was the only local licenced premises open on St Stephen’s Day. She said patrons were shouting and screaming, and the road was covered in vomit.

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 said he feared solutions proposed by the hotel would be a “sticky plaster” to the problems.

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

The case continues tomorrow.