Rock Bingo shut down despite High Court order

Rock Bingo shut down despite High Court order

Despite the High Court ruling on Friday 4th November declaring that Rock Bingo could remain open without interference from the state until a full hearing scheduled for the 21st November, the bingo operation was forced to shut its doors due a warrant that was about to be issued by the District Court to the authorities on the same day.

While this seems to totally contravene the High Court order it is possible through a legal loophole to secure a warrant for search and seizure of books and equipment as long as there is a suspicion of “unlawful” activity. This is exactly what happened on the “opening night” on Tuesday 1st November when Gardaí entered the premises without notice and seized the bingo books preventing the operation from opening and leaving many eager customers disappointed.

The following day the High Court ruled that such seizures could not take place in the future unless 24 hours notice must be given in advance.

The Rock Bingo team received the temporary good news from the High Court last Saturday and this was followed by a crushing blow that a warrant for seizure was about to be applied for to the District Court. It has also been communicated clearly to the team at Rock Bingo that such a warrant would be sought each day until the High Court hearing schedule for the 21st November.

In the interest of customers, staff and minimising disruption the management team see no alternative but to shut the doors after just one two nights of bingo, until the situation can be resolved.

A very devastated James Barber, owner of the operation stated “This is a crushing blow for everyone here at Rock Bingo, my team, our newly recruited staff, our catering company and  of course our customers. Last Thursday when we opened was the first time I was able to relax in months and to be honest it has really taken a big toll on myself and my family. 

This is just unbelievable as have done nothing wrong, we have created 30 jobs, we have charity partners who will benefit from the business and we are providing a safe and secure, alcohol free environment for Cork people to have a fun and inexpensive night out, but the local Garda authorities seem to be determined to shut down our operation. I felt like I had done something terrible as I watched the Gardaí come to our business and take our bingo books away on our planned opening night. In a lifetime of business in Cork this has never happened to me before.” 

“To be honest, I felt sorry for the Gardaí on the ground as they looked very uncomfortable entering the bingo hall and I am sure they would have preferred to be out fighting real crime that securing our bingo books.”

Discussing the ongoing saga with the authorities James stated “We have operated totally within the law, we have invested huge money in modern premises that meets all the required comforts and legislations, and we have secured the charity beneficiary partners in the right manner so we should be able to open without interference.

To allay fears that the authorities may have about the operation we have met with them and we even had them attend our Friday night of bingo to see firsthand that we are offering nothing except good clean fun in a safe environment. Despite finding nothing untoward and despite the High Court ruling this is still not enough for them to leave us alone until the 21st of this month”

When asked about next steps James is calling for some common sense from all concerned “I am making a personal plea to the local authorities to come meet with us again, inspect our operation and see that we are good, law abiding citizens operating a totally legitimate business. If this genuine offer is not taken up then we will have to take this unfortunate blow on the chin and wait for the High Court ruling of the 21st”.

On a very positive note James stated “When we eventually opened our doors and greeted our customers for the first time it was a special moment for me. My family team and the other staff here have put Trojan work for months into creating a very special facility, which I hope will bring enjoyment to the people of Cork for many years”.

For updates on the actual opening dates customers can check the website www.rockbingo.ie and information is also available on the facebook page.

For further information visit www.rockbingo.ie

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