A DISTRICT Court judge has ruled that a Westport pub be only allowed live music three times a month due to a noise pollution complaint. The case of noise nuisance under the Environmental Protection Agency Act against Kenneth Lavelle of The Jester Bar was brought by elderly couple Loretta and Hugh O’Malley, who live above the pub on Bridge Street in the town.
At a previous court sitting the couple claimed their lives had become ‘intolerable’ since the pub was given a late licence where live music is played.
Mr Lavelle was granted a licence to operate a late bar in 2014. According to Ms O’Malley, this resulted in loud amplified music being played which could be heard in the apartments above the pub.
The previous court sitting heard that the couple had lived there for 43 years and had no problem with the pub until the bar was granted a late licence and started playing loud live music late at night.
At last week’s court, Diarmuid Connolly, counsel for the O’Malleys, said there had been a ‘massive intensification of music and noise since December 2014’, and he added that his clients say the noise situation has not improved since April, when the pub stopped operating under late exemptions.
Sound engineer Diarmuid Keaney, who was employed by the O’Malleys, told the court that he measured the noise levels in the couple’s apartment on a Saturday night and found noise levels to be 55 and 58 decibels at midnight. He added that the World Health Organisation recommended level of noise for undisturbed sleep was 30 decibels.
Mr Keaney told the court that he was disappointed with another noise-level report by a sound engineer (who was not in court) appointed by Mr Lavelle. Mr Keaney said that document made no recommendations for reducing noise level, adding that the sound engineer had not addressed the issue, instead referring to other sources of noise, such as cars.
After Judge Mary Devins ruled that the case of noise nuisance had been made, Mr Connolly told the court that ‘the noise must cease’. Defence solicitor Colm Keane replied that his client believed he would be forced to close his business if he could not play music.
After lengthy discussions between the two parties, after which both sides outlined their peferred outcome, a compromise was suggested by Judge Devins.
Mr Keane indicated that his client was willing to change the type of music played in the pub to non-amplified bands with no drums and would not apply for any more late licences. He added that his client could not see the business surviving if forced to reduce music to two nights a month, as suggested by the O’Malleys.
By way of a compromise, Judge Devins ruled that Mr Lavelle would be able to host live music three nights per month, and she put the matter back to February 18, 2016, to hear an update from both parties.
Conditions outlined by the court for the interim period include no application for late exemptions and music to finish at 12.30am.
Source: Mayo News (July 2015)