Management at the Galway hotel where Fianna Fáil held its by now
infamous late-night 'drink-in' has said the bar did not serve alcohol to non-residents of the hotel outside of normal opening hours.
However, the Sunday Tribune has
established that a number of those present at the late-night boozing session,
including a significant media contingent, were accommodated away from the Ardilaun hotel itself. While they would have been entitled to be present in the bar, due to the 'mixed-use' aspect of a hotel, if it were to be found that Brian Cowen or other residents bought them alcoholic drinks which they then consumed, it would be in breach of the licensing laws.
The issue of who was drinking alcohol at the late night "knees-up" in the Blazers Bar at the Ardilaun hotel could prove intensely embarrassing for Cowen and his assorted Fianna Fáil ministers who were also present at the event.
Under current licensing laws, if there is a group of persons on the licensed premises and only one of them is a resident of the hotel, this resident cannot buy intoxicating liquor under 'residents' bar' rules on behalf of the other persons as a way of circumventing the legislation.
When asked if the hotel had obtained a special exemption to its bar licence, John Ryan, general manager, replied that it had only served alcohol to hotel residents.
"They were all residents, so we're covered," he said.
"We've a very thorough checking systems for residents."