Champion rally driver negotiating pub lease told to 'speed things up' by judge
One of the fastest men on four wheels in Irish rallying history was told by a judge today to get a move on.
Champion rally driver and businessman Austin MacHale was told by Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that if he did not speedily follow up on an application regarding the granting of a drinks license it would not be renewed.
Barrister Dorothy Collins, counsel for MacHale said he was the owner of a residential and commercial development at Slade Castle, Saggart, Co Dublin, and eight years ago had been granted a Declaratory Order which would have assured him of a drinks license for a pub and restaurant.
Ms Collins, who appeared with Donal T. McAuliffe solicitors, told the Circuit Licensing Court that Mr MacHale had received planning permission from Dublin County Council in 2008 but, due to the economic crash, had not continued with the development.
He had been granted a Declaratory Order in January 2008 and had it extended in two yearly intervals until this month.
MacHale, in an affidavit opened by Ms Collins to the court, said all of the domestic and retail units in the development had been built but a number, including a public house and restaurant had not yet been let or sold.
Ms Collins said Mr MacHale was currently negotiating an agreement with Dermot O’Neill for the granting of a 10-year lease for the pub and restaurant at Slade Castle and he hoped to have negotiations concluded soon.
Mr MacHale said the pub and restaurant had been completed by him to shell and core specification and awaited fit-out. The pub had cost him in the region of €3.5m to date and he estimated the fitting out would cost another €750,000.
He said that due to economic circumstances he was reluctant to incur further substantial cost of fitting out until there was an improvement in the economy and, in particular, the public house trade. He applied for a further extension of the Declaratory Order until 2018.
Ms Collins said Mr MacHale hoped to progress the matter in court in March. He intended to run the pub and restaurant himself as he was experienced and owned other premises.
When Ms Collins confirmed to Judge Groarke that the applicant was the racing driver the judge said: “He better speed things up. I will not be extending this again."