State body sued over condition of Mespil Road property

Solas sued in effort to compel carrying out of repair work at one of its properties

The Four Courts. When the case taken by Davy Target Investments came before Mr Justice Brian McGovern at the Commercial Court on Friday, he agreed to fast-track it. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Four Courts. When the case taken by Davy Target Investments came before Mr Justice Brian McGovern at the Commercial Court on Friday, he agreed to fast-track it. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Solas, the State further education and training authority, is being sued at the Commercial Court in an effort to compel the carrying out of repair works, at an estimated cost of about €2 million, to premises at Dublin’s Mespil Road.

Davy Target Investments plc (DTI) has brought the case against Solas, of Castleforbes Road, Dublin, concerning the property at 43/49 Mespil Road.

An application will be brought to join the Office of Public Works (OPW) as a third party arising from an allegedly informal subtenancy arrangement dating to 1993, the Commercial Court heard on Friday.

The OPW remains in occupation of the premises and has served DTI with a notice of intention to claim relief under the Landlord and Tenant Act.

DTI says, without prejudice to its case against Solas, it has proposed heads of terms of a new tenancy to the OPW.

In its proceedings, DTI, of Davy House, Dawson Street, Dublin, says it intended, from October 1st last, to become an Irish “collective-asset management vehicle” with its principal activity acquiring and holding investments in Irish commercial property with a view to maximising returns for shareholders.

It says the Mespil Road premises is a “multimillion-euro asset” which has been left “in a significant state of disrepair”. Its expert advice is that it will cost more than €2 million, excluding professional fees, to remediate this state of disrepair, it said.

It wants orders requiring Solas, under a lease for the Mespil Road premises which expired last July, to carry out certain works or to pay damages for alleged breach of contract.

DTI claims it is successor in title to Irish Life Assurance Company Ltd under the lease and is holder of the latter’s interest under the lease since December 2013.

It claims Irish Life leased the premises to An Chomhairle Oiliúna for 35 years from 1982 and that Solas is the successor in title to the tenant’s interest in the lease.

It claims Solas had not met obligations under the lease to carry out repairs and maintenance and yield up the premises in “good and substantial repair and condition”.

When the case came before Mr Justice Brian McGovern at the Commercial Court on Friday, he agreed to fast-track it.

When the judge queried whether mediation might be an option, he was told there had been an effort to mediate the dispute.

John Trainor SC, for Solas, said he was sure the parties were still “reflecting” on that and he would not discount a possible further mediation. He hoped discussions with the OPW would achieve something, counsel added.