AN IRISH members’ club has lost its licence after several large fights and police suspicions that staff were buying stolen alcohol.

The Reading and District Irish Association, Chatham Street, had its licence revoked by Reading Borough Council on July 25. 

Peter Narancic, licensing officer for the council, said he was concerned about ‘large scale fighting, failing to support police with information, underage drinking, and receiving stolen goods’.

In June, Thames Valley Police suspected a man who had just stole alcohol from a town centre shop went to the Irish club. 

When police arrived at the club, they noticed non-members drinking inside. Officers asked them if they were guests of members, and they said no. 

The Irish Centre is not a public house and its licence was only for members of the club and guests of members. 

But Seamus McAdden, the chair of the committee that runs the club, said he knew the three people who the police asked. He said they used to work for him. 

The police later asked for CCTV footage of the time and day when they suspected a man sold stolen alcohol to staff. 

At first, staff at the club said they couldn’t have the CCTV footage, but later agreed to give it to them. However, the footage they gave the police was from the wrong day, and only from one camera. 

PC Simon Wheeler told the council’s licensing committee on July 25: “Either they deliberately provided the wrong CCTV footage or staff are negligent and this was an accident.

“Either way, it’s an issue.”

He also said there had been several brawls at the club involving more than 30 people and glass bottles being thrown. 

A performance review was held six months ago between the police and the bar manager, Brendan Healy. But Mr Healy did not tell the club’s committee about the review. 

Bill Donne, the lawyer representing the club, said: “There might have been a motivation not to communicate to the committee [about the performance review].

“The Irish club is a hub of the community, with all sorts of events going on. But the committee probably were not as robust as they should have been.” 

The club was approached for comment. It will now have three weeks to appeal the decision to revoke its licence and is allowed to stay open during that period.