Ex-Mayor Royston vows to clear his name in hotel rip-off claims
GARDA PROBE: Sacked manager says he was just the whistleblower
FORMER city mayor Royston Brady has vowed that a gardai probe into how a country club charged customers for non-existent bar extensions will clear his name.
Mr Brady was sacked from his job as the general manager of the Roganstown Hotel and Country Club amid allegations that wedding couples were duped out of hundreds of euro.
But today the ex-politician told the Herald that while "some incredible allegations and remarks" have been made about him, he was merely a whistleblower.
Gardai have confirmed to the Herald that a serious investigation "into allegations re breaches in liquor licensing laws" was under way in the Swords District.
"I welcome it and have every faith in the investigation," he said, adding that he would give officers "anything whatsoever" they needed.
"It's not about me. Everything is there already," he said.
The probe follows revelations that the four-star hotel was charging couples €550 for their receptions but did not use the money to apply to the District Court for special exemption orders under the Intoxicating Liquor Act.
Mr Brady was removed from the premises after the abnormality came to light, but he says he is being punished for exposing the impropriety.
"I discovered the practice was taking place," said Mr Brady. "I discovered this practice back in July when the MD was gone on holidays. I put it in writing to him.
"I raised it with the Board of Directors and I was dismissed."
He claims that there had been attempts to "muddy the water" by his former employers who have publicly blamed the ex-Fianna Fail councillor for the problem. "Nowhere did I ever apply for licences," said Mr Brady.
Last night, the hotel's managing director Ian McGuinness said that up to 40 exemptions over a two-year period were affected.
The hotel is in discussion with gardai to see if they can be paid retrospectively but there is also the possibility of massive fines.
Under the Intoxicating Liquor Act the hotel could face fines of up to €200,000. "I don't know about the fines but if that's the case we are out of business, with 70 people on the dole," said Mr McGuinness. The hotel has emailed the couples concerned saying they have "just become aware of a serious internal issue".
"If there is no requirement to pay the fee in retrospect, a refund will issue to all affected parties," the email says.
Mr Brady is determined to clear his name and believes that his reputation is being tarnished.
"I've never been afraid to stand up for the truth. I do believe all the couples are fully entitled to their money back," he told the Herald. "I didn't think it would lead to this. Let the garda do their investigations. It'll be blatantly obvious where the money went."