Garda raids fail to call time on shebeen
THE most famous shebeen in the country is back doing a roaring trade despite two garda raids earlier this week.
Last night, drinkers in the Southill shebeen in Limerick city happily smoked and drank while they played pool, darts and cards.
The shebeen, which is nicknamed 'My Mother's', is run by Francis Kelly (33) from Lilac Court, Southill.
Mr Kelly explained that he is barred from every pub in Limerick, so he had to build his own place.
"Check with any of the pubs in town. I am barred out of every single one of them. This is my own private place, it is not a pub, it is my home and I am very proud of it," Mr Kelly said.
A security camera guards the low entrance to the premises and the music of the Wolfe Tones greets all who enter.
The bar area can accommodate up to 50 people. The TV is equipped with all channels and a dart board, pool table and poker machine are also available.
"We all pool together and buy our own drinks from the off-licence. A slab costs us €23.99; a bottle of Heineken in the pub costs €5. It's common sense.
"We drink up here, there is no money changing hands, this is a private place. We have fridges, taps and gas for pints," Mr Kelly said.
"It is called 'My Mother's' as before any of the lads here who were getting hassle from their wives or girlfriends would get fed up and say they were off to their mother's. Now it has a different meaning," joked Francis.
The shebeen opened during Cheltenham race week and has been closed twice since by gardai.
An estimated €1,500 worth of stock was taken from the pub during the garda raids at the weekend.
"I resent the invasion by gardai and will be taking legal action against them and am applying to have my property returned to me. There is no hassle from anyone here and it is well run," added Mr Kelly, who is single.
Closing time is called by Francis whenever he decides. "This is my home and I can have whoever I want inside here. We are here to stay and will not be treated any different."
"This was built by all the local lads here with free labour. It cost nothing and is our own private place. We can drink and smoke here as it is a private premises," Mr Kelly said.
A wheelchair-bound customer, Eddie Casey (70), who was yesterday enjoying a can of cider, is soon to be provided with a disabled toilet.
Plans are also in place to build a snug for people who "like a quiet drink" and punters soon hope to put a darts team together.
'My Mother's' was said to be very busy last night. Sitting in the corner, Southill men Les Dearman (59) and Mick Carey (42) said there was nowhere they'd rather be.
"I see it as a community centre. It is a place to meet and chat away with my friends," said Mr Dearman. Mr Carey said: "This is all a controlled environment and there is no hassle here."
It is understood that Francis Casey will be brought before Limerick District Court soon in connection with last weekend's garda raids.