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wed faced I’m more than sorry, says marquee owner after 120 attend Longford wedding party

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Photo showing marquee after the wedding party in Longford

Photo showing marquee after the wedding party in Longford

Photo showing marquee after the wedding party in Longford

THE owner of a marquee that was used for a post-wedding celebration that more than 120 revellers attended has said he is “more than sorry” about how events unfolded.

The party in the big tent owned by Alan Horohoe (41) went ahead despite Longford County Council securing an emergency circuit court order directing it be taken down.

Gardaí have said that Mr Horohoe did not comply with their “verbal and written requests” to take down his marquee as the planned gathering was in breach of coronavirus regulations.

The bridal party and organisers behind the staging of the “illegal” wedding after-party in Co Longford have been ordered to come before the courts to explain their decision to “flagrantly” breach public health guidelines.

Mr Horohoe, who settled an €87,000 tax bill with Revenue last year for the non-declaration of income tax, PAYE, PRSI, USC and VAT, said that what happened this week was “one of my more foolish moves”.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said: “I was paid for the job last October and at that stage I thought the health situation would have improved by May of this year.

“But as the event came closer I was in touch with the couple – I tried to get it postponed or to take place somewhere else but this was not agreeable to them.

“I work in a filling station and I simply did not have the money to refund the families concerned. I am more than sorry about what has happened.”

Mr Horohoe explained he had erected the marquee on Monday morning and was first contacted by gardaí on Tuesday evening.

“I told them I would take it down if the families agreed but they didn’t – they would not change their minds,” he said.

“If I took it down I would have owed them a four-figure sum that I simply don’t have.”

The marquee used for this week’s controversial event was also used at a large funeral gathering in Carrick-On-Shannon, Co Leitrim, in March but Mr Horohoe was not the owner of the tent at that time.

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Mr Horohoe is a marquee hire operator who trades as Ventura Marquee Hire in Lanesboro, Co Longford.

Meanwhile, Traveller representative group Pavee Point described the events in Longford as “reckless”.

“It’s hugely disappointing,” said a spokesperson.

“It just shouldn’t have happened. The work that the HSE and Traveller organisations have done to educate Travellers, to see this is just very reckless and disappointing.”

The comments came as Judge Keenan Johnson ordered the bridal party and organisers to come before the courts to explain their decisions.

Judge Johnson said he wanted to hear from each of the respective parties involved as to why the event proceeded just hours after an emergency circuit court injunction was granted to remove the marquee.

“The dogs on the street knew that this was a complete breach of all public health regulations,” he said.

“It’s outrageous. Not alone have they defied the public health regulations, they have flagrantly defied a specific court order.

“This is an insult to the people of Longford,” he said.

The court heard submissions from Niall Flynn, BL, for Longford County Council, who stated the local authority had done “everything within its remit” to prevent the gathering from taking place.

Superintendent Jim Delaney said he and his officers had enacted all of the legislative measures which were open to them, insisting their role was to provide assistance to the council in the servicing of the court injunction.

Judge Johnson said he was prepared to hold a special court sitting on Monday, ordering the bride and groom, their parents, the marquee owner and caterers to attend.

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