Bingo complex raided for second time
HUNDREDS of elderly bingo fans watched in astonishment last night as gardai raided a €750,000 bingo complex on its gala opening evening -- for the second time in just over two months.
Gardai -- acting on foot of a District Court warrant -- conducted a search-and-seizure operation at the giant Rock Bingo complex in Togher, Cork.
However, they did not stop the bingo from going ahead and instead seized a number of bingo and play books and took them away.
Tonight's bingo game is also expected to go ahead.
The complex -- developed by the Barber family -- had planned a special celebratory opening night on New Year's Day after a two-month High Court battle with the State and gardai to secure its operation.
An estimated 500-plus bingo fans had gathered for the gala opening event -- but instead watched in amazement as gardai arrived and conducted a search of the premises.
Bingo games had been underway for 15 minutes when the uniformed officers arrived.
The Irish Independent understands that the garda operation -- and the warrant which underpinned it -- was triggered by concerns over the validity of the licence for the evening's play.
One garda source indicated that there were concerns the charitable beneficiary was not based in Cork.
The High Court battle between Rock Bingo and the State specifically referred to the charitable partner as the Mercy University Hospital Foundation. But the bingo complex will operate seven nights weekly and it is expected that different charitable partners will be in place for each night.
Gardai were met at the complex last night by legal representatives for Rock Bingo.
The complex had been raided on its planned opening night on November 1 last by gardai who believed it did not have the correct licences in place.
More than €20,000 of bingo books and tickets were seized by gardai on that occasion.