LATE night drinkers were ushered out the back of Cllr Danny Healy-Rae's Kilgarvan pub as Gardai were knocking on the front door in the early hours of the morning, Kenmare District Court has heard.
Gardai said at the court on Friday that they were refused entry to the pub but heard punters inside being told to keep quiet and they peeped through the window to see customers being herded through a rear door.
Licensee Cllr Danny Healy-Rae was subsequently summonsed for having people on his premises after-hours. However, his solicitor, Eoin Brosnan, told the court the licensee wasn't even on the premises on the night.
Inspector Fearghal Patwell told the court that Garda Noel O'Leary and Sergeant Derek Fleming were standing outside Healy-Rae's Bar at 2.40am on March 31 last, when they heard voices coming from inside the pub.
Insp Patwell said that when gardai knocked on the front door they heard the people inside "being told to be quiet", however they were not admitted to the premises.
Garda Noel O'Leary peered through the curtains of the pub and saw people being ushered through a rear door. The gardai knocked for 10 minutes and were still not admitted, the court heard.
The gardai then set up a checkpoint outside Healy-Rae's and at 2.52am a door in the private quarters of the premises opened and Danny HealyRae's wife, Eileen, approached them.
Solcitior Eoin Brosnan said the licensee was not on the premises on the night in question. He said it was accepted that the premises should have been closed by 1am but that an employee was celebrating his birthday.
Mr Brosnan said the employee was celebrating in the kitchen part of the premises with family and friends, separate from the bar, and that the drinks were not being paid for.
He said it was initially thought that the gardai were members of the public who had noticed the lights on and were seeking to gain admittance. The solicitor said it was a "small birthday celebration" and that the front door of the pub was locked.
Judge James O'Connor directed that a volunteered contribution of €800 must be paid to the court poor box by December 7 next in order for the charge to be struck out.