The Dublin pub owned by the controversial father of Celtic striker Anthony Stokes has been burnt to the ground in suspicious circumstances.
The Player’s Lounge in Fairview made headlines around the world last spring when owner John Stokes put up a 40 foot banner in protest against the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Dublin.
Stokes Snr banned the English Monarch from his premises and was eventually ordered by a Dublin court to remove the banner.
A known Republican sympathizer, John Stokes is also awaiting trial on public order charges of making menaces to the leaseholders of a nearby pub, the Castle.
Now police are investigating the ‘suspicious’ fire at the North Dublin premises on Monday night.
It has been reported that four armed men robbed the pub of substantial takings just before 2am before setting fire to it.
A number of Dublin Fire Brigade units took over two hours to get the fire under control and nearby homes on Fairview Strand had to be evacuated.
In a previous incident, three men, including a doorman and two customers, were gunned down outside the Players Lounge in July 2010.
Anthony Stokes scored for Celtic in the Dublin Super Cup at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday but pulled out of Ireland’s end of season games in May and has been ignored by manager Giovanni Trapattoni for next week’s friendly against Croatia.