Friday 19 October 2018

Fianna Fail favourite haunt the Golden Grill 'to reopen'

Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

THE dancehall days of the Golden Grill -- the famous Fianna Fail haunt and Letterkenny nightclub -- may not be numbered just yet. Moves are afoot to reopen the business after it lost its licences and closed its doors.

Following the appointment of examiner Foster McAteer to the business, and investment from the local Tinney family, the Golden Grill is expected to open its doors again next Friday.

The venue was first opened as a restaurant by former Fianna Fail senator Bernard McGlin-chey back in the 1960s and soon became an unofficial party headquarters.

Aside from its historical political role, it has also been credited with launching thousands of romances as one of the most popular entertainment spots in the North West.

However, the business ran into trouble recently when the budget for an audacious renovation process was overspent.

A farce akin to Lannigan's Ball then erupted after parts of the business were closed for four months.

A receiver was appointed to the club by Bank of Scotland (Ireland) in early August. He soon withdrew only to be reappointed on September 2. When the examiner was appointed, the receiver withdrew a second time.

Mr McAteer, partner at Foster McAteer, said yesterday he was "positive the business will reopen shortly".

This is not the first time that licensing issues have haunted the Golden Grill. Back in 2004, Mr McGlinchey told the 'Donegal News' the story of how he got the licence in the first place. He said at first the law had been against him because a prospective licence-holder in the 1960s needed to prove the population of the parish area had increased by 33pc.

However, at the time, he was in the senate and former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey was Minister for Justice, finalising the new Liquor Act.

Mr McGlinchey told the newspaper that Mr Haughey inserted a clause which changed the law for urban areas. A veteran politician, he was also once an influential figure in Fianna Fail politics. He is believed to have been influential in persuading Letterkenny doctor Jim McDaid to enter politics.

The most recent accounts for the Golden Grill list the directors as Paul McGlinchey and Ruari McGlinchey, sons of the former senator. At the end of September 2007, the company had losses of €2.64m. Creditors, with amounts falling due within one year, amounted to €7m.

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