Northern Ireland news

Council to consider suspending Greenvale Hotel entertainment licence

Connor Currie, Lauren Bullock and Morgan Barnard died after a crush at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown
Connla Young

A council will tonight consider whether to suspend an entertainment licence at a hotel where three teenagers died after a crush last month.

Morgan Barnard (17), Lauren Bullock (17) and 16-year-old Connor Currie died as they queued to get into a disco at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on St Patrick’s night.

The victims’ month’s mind Masses are due to take place tomorrow.

The popular hotel, which employs more than 50 people, has since reopened for business as the PSNI and Mid Ulster District Council separately investigate the tragedy.

The Police Ombudsman is also investigating after it emerged that the first PSNI officers at the scene initially withdrew to await support.

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Greenvale owner Michael McElhatton (52) was arrested last month on suspicion of manslaughter and later released on police bail.

The hotel’s entertainment licence was issued to Mr McElhatton by Mid Ulster council last December.

Members of the council’s environment committee are due to meet in Cookstown tonight to discuss the contents of an unpublished report - seen by The Irish News - reviewing the licence.

The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown

It will be closed to members of the public and media.

The council has advised Mr McElhatton, the PSNI and Fire Service about the special meeting “to enable members to receive representations from the parties concerned”.

Mr McElhatton has been "requested to provide supporting information on the additional measures which have been put in place to ensure public safety on the premises since its reopening”.

The document states that the “review process is dependent upon the information tabled at the meeting”, but sets out three possible options available to members.

The first is a “notice of suspension of entertainment licence with immediate effect - if there is likely cause of serious threat to public order or public safety continuing”.

Greenvale Hotel owner Michael McElhatton

The second option is an immediate suspension “with consideration for subsequent variation of entertainment licence with relevant conditions once appropriate assessments and control measures have been provided and agreed”.

If the council proceeds with either of these “the premises would be required to cease all entertainment activity” until "appropriate assessments and control measures have been provided and accepted by the council”.

A third option allows for a “variation of the entertainment licence and conditions - if satisfied that all material considerations have been addressed and appropriate assessments and controls are identified, agreed and implemented”.

"Material considerations" include that “there was a significant crush incident at the entrance to the building”, that the “incident occurred outside the building and not indoors”, and that these factors “raise immediate issues regarding the nature and extent of the control of patrons outside the building entrance and how these matters should be addressed”.

A council spokeswoman said last night: “Given the tragic events which occurred at the Greenvale Hotel, the council, as the licensing authority, is undertaking a review of the premises’ entertainment licence.”

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