A news report published on the Irish Times website, appears to support the belief that there is an overzealous Garda official intent on closing any gambling establishment in Togher, Cork.
Omega Leisure Ltd, an entertainment company, was about to hold their inaugural bingo games at the Rock Bingo Club; when Supt Barry arrived at the Deanrock bingo hall accompanied by members of the gardaí with a District Court order. This document ordered the seizure of bingo books and other gambling related materials to stop the launch of the new club.
The company, trading as Rock Bingo Club, claims it has been targeted by Charles Barry, the Garda superintendent, because of his tough line on gambling. This has been to the detriment of their business and so the company have now managed to obtain an interim Court order which restrains Supt Barry from any interference with its licensed activities prior to full court proceedings.
An affidavit from company director James Barber claimed the company was fully recognised by the Department of Finance’s charitable Lotteries Fund Scheme complying with all the legal requirements set out under gaming legislation.
To support their case, the Directors of Omega Leisure claim they are working as an agent for charity under a valid lottery licence, It is also their belief that they are operating completely legitimately and as such are entitled to hold bingo games on behalf of charities. Omega Leisure were granted their lottery licence for the Cork area, when on October 12th an agreement was negotiated with the Mercy Hospital Foundation of Cork. This agreement permits Omega Leisure to run bingo games on behalf of the charity and Omega can retain a cut of all proceeds in payment.
James Barber, one of the company Director’s explained that at a previous appeal in respect of their gaming licence application, Barry had claimed that gambling led to a whole range of socially damaging consequences from family breakdown to an increase of crime and because of this; he was determined therefore to oppose the opening of any new gaming establishments in Togher. Mr. Barber told the court that Barry had made several objections to lottery licence applications for various charities that had been in negotiations with Omega. After Superintendent Barry’s interference all of the charities had since withdrawn from negotiations with Omega Leisure Limited.
The Irish Times article reveals that Constance Cassidy of Omega Leisure, is of the belief that they may well have problems again if this issue is not resolved one and for all through the courts; which is why Omega Leisure have taken the decision to initiate court proceedings against Supt Barry and the state.