Monday 22 January 2018

Objectors to Dylan McGrath restaurant decide not to give evidence

Ray Managh

THE decision of four objectors not to give evidence against Masterchef judge Dylan McGrath getting a full public house licence was described in court yesterday as "most telling".

The Circuit Civil Court heard that nightclub and restaurant entrepreneur John Reynolds had joined three other neighbouring restaurateurs and bar owners, Jay Bourke, Paul Keaveney and Frank Gleeson trying to stop the TV chef obtaining more than a wine licence for his new €1.4 million Dublin restaurant.

Barrister Eamon Galligan SC told Judge Matthew Deery that planning and licensing laws were against Mr McGrath obtaining a full pub licence for his premises, known as Fade Street Social.

Mr McGrath’s jointly owned company, Prime Steak Restaurant 2012, had earlier been granted a Declaratory Order by the court ensuring it would obtain a licence if planning permission terms as lodged with the court were adhered to.

Mr Galligan, who appeared with Kerry Jane Morgan for the objectors, said there had been dramatic changes to plans, including the replacement of architecturally protected exterior windows and doors since the Declaratory Order had been granted.

There had also been substantial changes to the interior of the restaurant which, he said, had been laid out on two floors more in the design of a public house which included five bars.

He said a number of planning breaches had occurred as a result of ex-parte applications (one side only) that had been made to the court in the absence of proper procedures such as prior publication of such changes being sought.

Mr McGrath said in evidence he included all of the bars, bar one, as areas at which customers could sit on rows of stools and be served directly prepared food and drinks while interacting with chefs. The one bar where drinks only would be served was in a holding area of the restaurant.

Constance Cassidy, SC, who appeared with Michael McGrath for Mr McGrath’s company, told the court that a full public house licence had been purchased and extinguished to facilitate its transfer to the new Fade Street Social restaurant.

She said any changes made to the layout of the premises applied only to the interior of the former bacon-curing factory and had been carried out with the permission of the court. There had been no change to the exterior outline envelope of the development.

Ms Cassidy said the objectors were latecomers to the legal proceedings in that they had not objected at the initial declaratory stage. It was “most telling” that they had not been called to give evidence as she had looked forward to cross-examining them.

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