District courts in Kerry granted almost five thousand special exemption orders to pubs and other venues over a three year period.
The Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, supplied the figure in response to a Dáil question by Wexford TD, Mick Wallace.
Pubs and other businesses must make an application for a special exemption order to their local district court if they wish to serve alcohol up to 2.30am.
Objections to such applications can be made by the gardaí, the county council or any affected person.
Between February 1st 2015 and March 31st, 2017, Court District No. 17 which covers Kerry issued 4,739 special exemption orders.
The breakdown of this figure shows that 2,655 special exemption orders were granted by Tralee District Court, 820 by Killarney District Court, 432 by Cahersiveen District Court, 261 by Killorglin District Court, 251 by Listowel District Court, 191 by Kenmare District Court and 129 by Dingle District Court. A special exemption order for a premises in the county can be sought and granted at a sitting of any district court in the county and is not confined to the local court sitting.
The Minister for Justice received the statistics from the Courts Service following a question from TD Mick Wallace.
Two weeks ago, the Wexford TD alleged that he had been told by a garda whistleblower that there was “blatant non-enforcement of liquor licensing laws” in the Killarney area.
He alleged that Kerry seemed to be a “basket case” when it came to prosecuting alleged breaches of liquor licensing laws.
A Garda spokesperson said that liquor licensing laws are strictly and fairly enforced in the Killarney area. The spokesperson said hundreds of exemptions in respect of premises in Killarney are granted at District Court sittings throughout the county of Kerry.