AN IRISH pub owner is facing the prospect of a €100,000 charge after being accused of defaming a Traveller family by turning them away from his pub.
Charlie Chawke, who owns The Old Orchard Inn in Rathfarnham, Dublin denies the allegations of defamation, insisting that his company has "nothing against the Travelling community".
Mr Chawke claims that the on-shift manager of the pub was threatened with having his "throat slashed" by a member of the Connors family, a group of Travellers who were looking to eat at The Old Orchard Inn on September 11, 2016.
A judge however has rejected Chawke's version of events, awarding the Connors €33,000 damages and heavily criticising the pub's attitude, according to the Irish Independent.
Judge John O'Connor declared that what happened between the pub staff and the Connors family was "reminiscent of a dark period of Irish history that we thought was over".
"There was a clear policy that they [the Connors family] were to be excluded and I would advise the owner that he should change that," he added.
A court heard that Patrick Connors had stormed into the pub and told restaurant manager Wayne Buggle to "get out of my way or I'll slit your throat" when asked if he had a reservation.
"I had to defend my manager because he was allegedly threatened to have his throat slashed, so I have to defend him," said Mr Chawke.
Judge O'Conners however did not accept this as a credible account of what happened.
The court also heard that the family were refused entry because they didn't have a reservation, while other families were walking in passed them without being asked if they had a booking or not.
It was noted that several weeks before, there had been an incident at the pub involving another Traveller group - not associated with the Connors - and that may have impacted on the restaurant's decision to refuse the Connors entry.
The defamation charges could end up costing The Old Orchard Inn up to €100,000, a charge which Mr Chawke admits he will "take on the chin."