TRALEE'S Abbeygate Hotel has been ordered to pay out over €15,000 after two court judgements were made against it in the circuit civil court last week.
The hotel has been ordered to pay €5,174 in royalty to British Sky Broadcasting who told the court that the hotel had screened sports events in the bar without a commercial contract from the broadcaster.
Judge Ray Fullam heard that an inspector from IMRO had visited the hotel on four occasions in 2006 and 2007. During the inspections, the court heard, sporting events including English premiership soccer matches and Heineken Cup rugby games were showing on a television in the residents' bar.
The hotel previously held a contract with Sky but it had not been renewed.
Counsel for The Abbeygate argued that as the television in question was in a premises where sleeping accommodation is provided and amenities are exclusively or mainly provided for residents, for which there is no discretionary charge, the hotel was exempt from the need for a contract under section 97 of the copyright act.
Judge Fullam found against the hotel and granted an injunction barring the hotel from showing matches on Sky without a contract.
In the second judgement against the hotel a Tralee couple were awarded €10,000 in damages in a claim for nuisance against the Abbeygate hotel arising from noise disturbance over two and a half years.
The plaintiffs, Anthony and Brenda Lynch told the court they had to endure sleepless nights and on occasions had to take their children to their grandparents' home to sleep because of "tonal, impulsive and thumping noises" coming from functions in the nearby Abbeygate hotel.
Judge Fullam was told that on one occasion women's screams at a male strip show and comments that were inappropriate for children to hear were audible to the Lynchs and their two children.
The Lynchs have lived at their house in St John's Park in Tralee since 1990. The Abbeygate Hotel was built in the mid-1990s and noise levels were set by the local authority.
The court was told that problems subsequently arose with function-room noise and these were addressed by the then owners. New owners took over and problems arose again in 2006. The court also heard the Abbeygate Hotel had recently installed double glazing at a cost of €7,000 and had modified a door and a keg store through which sound was emanating. The plaintiffs said this had made little difference and the noise continued to disturb them.
Judge Ray Fullam granted an injunction against the hotel not to have excessive noise and awarded €10,000 and costs to the couple.