Alex Massie

Life in Donegal

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Frankly, one would be disappointed if this sort of caper weren't being run in Donegal:

A 72-year-old Donegal man who denied running an illegal public bar in his shed, has been acquitted of two charges brought against him by the County Council under planning regulations.

Patsy Brogan said the bar, which has become known as The Bog Hotel near Frosses, is for private use, and while he welcomes callers, he insists he does not charge for drink.

At Donegal District Court today Judge Kevin Kilraine said there was no evidence anybody was being charged money at the bar.

He said the shed had been converted to look like a bar and lounge and added ‘he just might like the idea of looking at it as a bar and lounge, many people have bars with bar stools in the basements of their homes.’

Donegal County Council had brought the case against Mr Brogan under the planning regulations on the grounds of ‘change of use’.

Council Executive Cillian Smith said there had been a complaint in June 2007 of planning irregularities and when he inspected the shed in October of that year he saw the shed turned into a 60 square meter bar with optics, a full bar and seating with tables, mirrors, pictures and other pub items on the walls.

Judge Kilraine said that what Mr Smith saw was a shed fitted out as a bar but there was no evidence it was used as a bar.

‘What law is there that he can't drink with his family in the shed?’ he asked.

[Thank to JO'C for the tip]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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