Council seizes pub stock during morning raid
The County Sheriff carried out an early morning raid at the weekend on a well known rural pub and seized stock on behalf of Wexford County Council.
The operation was carried out on Saturday at Colfer's Pub, in Carrig-on-Bannow, when court officers seized goods including alcohol, furniture and a range of pub fixtures and fittings.
The seizure took place on foot of a Warrant of Execution following a long-running court action by the local authority against the operators of the pub for failure to pay commercial rates.
The premises, which is one of the most popular in the county and one of Wexford's premiere music venues, is operated by John Murphy and a spokesperson for Wexford County Council told this newspaper that the court action was taken as a result of non-payment of commercial rates totalling almost €23,000 - accumulated over a number of years.
'Following failure by the operator to pay, the council obtained the warrant authorising seizure of goods at the premises,' said the local authority's Communications Officer, David Minogue. 'The seized goods will now be auctioned by the State and the proceeds offset against the commercial rates due,' added Mr Minogue.
The costs incurred in the action will also be deducted from the auction proceeds.
Mr Minogue said 'the vast majority of the county's commercial rates customers make every effort to meet their financial obligations' and said the cost of unpaid rates if 'effectively met by those customers who do pay'.
Colfer's Pub has been at the heart of social life in Carrig-on-Bannow and the surrounding areas for decades, however, Mr Minogue said the local authority had to act in the manner it did.
'The [local authority] would be failing in its duty to these customers were it not to use all of the powers available to it to ensure everybody pays their share,' he said.
'As a publically funded body Wexford County Council has a duty to collect all monies due so we can properly fund the development of our county and provide essential services to the people of Wexford,' he added.
He also commented that a decision to seize goods is not one taken without careful consideration by the local authority: 'A decision by Wexford County Council to seize goods is not taken lightly and is only taken where there has been a complete and abject failure by the owner or operator to engage meaningfully with the Council and to make a reasonable and consistent effort to meet their rates payment obligations.'
Current legislation is such that if the proceeds arising from the seizure of goods are insufficient to meet the amount of money owing further seizures can be carried out until such time as the full amount due has been collected.