Irish bar in Glasgow claims discrimination after noise complaints

The operators of an award winning Irish Bar in the city centre have claimed they are being discriminated against over repeated noise complaints.

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Between March 2020 and February 2022 there have been 75 noise complaints made to Glasgow City Council’s licensing department against Connolly’s Bar on Bell Street – all by the same ten complainers.

Council officers have attended the premises and met with residents on a number of occasions over the past two years to find amplified noise coming from the premises. But Police Scotland has removed the bar from their “monitored premises list” following 64 successful inspections during the same time period.

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A report to the council licensing standards officer (LSO) claimed that some of the behaviour from residents could be seen as discriminatory.

Connolly’s legal representative, Archie McIver, said: “We require cooperation from the people complaining to resolve this. Until tests can be carried out, we cannot identify the problem and deal with it.”

Connolly’s in Merchant City.

The issue was brought before the licensing board on Friday afternoon, after the bar was found to have breached an order insisting music stop at 11pm.

Connolly’s legal representative, Archie McIver, said: “The building has been a licensed premise since 1994 and became Connelly’s bar in 2019. Connolly’s was awarded the Best Irish Bar in Scotland title in 2019, 2020 and 2022.

“This was originally a commercial building until the upstairs flats were put in. The building was not designed for housing.

“There has been a frosty relationship between the two parties. Noise is a side effect of living in a city centre. You’re not going to wake up to the sound of sheep grazing outside. I am not saying people should live in misery but both parties need to be proportionate.

“I would ask that this matter be continued so we can try and gain access to the neighbouring properties to measure the sound. It seems that the residents just do not want an Irish Bar there.”

Mr McIver also said that Connolly’s had reduced the number of live music events it held, the volume of the music and kept an eye on acts, all of which had resulted in a loss of income for the bar.

During the meeting it was revealed that Connolly’s had breached a notice which ensured music stopped after 11pm.

Councillor Alex Wilson said: “There is no smoke without fire. We have had statutory notices issued which would not have happened if there was not some sort of problem.

“We have issued a cut off at 11pm but music went on until 11.50pm – the applicant isn’t helping themselves here.

“If the complainers are not willing to come to the table and there could be an “element” causing this not to be resolved. I struggle with the fact that we will have to make a decision without a proper resolution.”

Councillor Bill Butler added: “We need to make a decision based on evidence as this accusation of discrimination seems to be based on impressions.

“We need to reach a stage that is acceptable to both parties. We need a body of evidence.”

The issue was continued for further investigation.