Publican is fined €4,000 for selling below-strength vodka
A JUDGE criticised "the worst kind of publican" after hearing that a man sold below-strength vodka to his customers.
Judge Patrick Durcan ordered that publican Michael Johnson shut down his premises, Johnson's Bar, Henry Street, Kilrush, Co Clare, for seven days and fined him €4,000.
The court heard that Johnson bought 12 bottles of vodka for €144 from a man he didn't know. The vodka was below-strength alcohol, with 33pc strength as opposed to the regulation 37pc.
Solicitor for Johnson, Pat Moylan, said Johnson had no previous convictions and that the incident was a one-off.
Johnson pleaded guilty to not paying the appropriate level of alcohol tax on 14 litres of spirits on June 20 last.
Mr Moylan said: "He has been a good publican and has never been in court before and has an otherwise unblemished record."
However, Judge Durcan said: "Mr Johnson bought drink from someone he doesn't know, the quality he knew nothing about and he shelled that out to his customers.
"In my view, he is the worst kind of publican you can find and not someone who in my view should be authorised to hold a publican's licence.
"Any publican not knowing the source of alcohol and then dishes it out to their customers - don't tell the court that he has been a good publican."
He added: "It is extremely important that when people enter a licensed premises that they so with the assurance that the quality of alcohol that they expect is good."
The closure order will take effect from Tuesday, February 4.
In a separate case brought by the Revenue against publican David Bond of Shenanigans, Frances Street, Kilrush, Judge Durcan said Bond had been fully co-operative.
Bond had pleaded guilty to not paying the appropriate rate of alcohol tax on 10 litres of spirits on May 31 last.
The judge ordered the closure of his premises for two days and ordered him to pay a fine of €2,500.