A High Court judge has said efforts should be made to try to resolve through mediation a dispute involving members of the Wright family who own and operate the well-known food and hospitality businesses.
The comments were made by Mr Justice Brian O’Moore on Wednesday while making directions for the exchange of documents in the dispute.
The judge said the case before the court involves members of the same family and there was a willingness to mediate the matter, which he would encourage.
Otherwise, the case would go on for a hearing before the High Court for five days, the judge added.
Part of the dispute centres on a claim by the Wrights of Howth group that it was wrongfully locked out of a storage unit it had been using for several years by two members of the Wright family who are not part of the business.
The ownership of the lease on the store is one of the issues, along with the alleged misappropriation of three fishing vessels that feature in proceedings between the parties that were commenced in 2019.
Last December, the judge granted several parties that form part of the group a temporary injunction restraining Mark Wright, a former shareholder and director of the group, and his daughter Shona Wright from impeding, interfering or obstructing the plaintiffs’ access to a premise known as Store E, west pier, Howth.
The parties that secured the order are Simro Limited, Bernadette and her daughter Aishling Wright, Ireland’s Eye Seafoods Limited, Wrights of Howth Seafood Bars Ltd, A Taste of Ireland Airports Ltd, Wrights Airport Convenience Store Ltd and Kitestown Ltd.
The injunction, which has been kept in place since December, also restrains the defendants from placing any locks or access control device on the premises or from besetting or entering into the premises.
The order was granted after the plaintiffs claimed the defendants have no legal entitlement to take possession or use the building until the legal proceedings have been determined.
The court heard that the store, which was a former lifeboat station, has been used by the group for several years for storage.
It was acquired on foot of a 35-year lease from the Department of Agriculture and the Marine.
The injunction was sought after plaintiffs claim that in the run-up to Christmas signs, including planning notices in the name of Shona Wright, were attached to the store.
The signs were removed.
A few days later, it is claimed, a new lock was placed on the store and the plaintiffs’ employees were locked out of the premises and a CCTV camera was placed on the building.
The plaintiffs argued that they required the use of the premises to store materials in the run-up to the busy Christmas season and that the defendants’ alleged actions regarding the store had breached the status quo.
The defendants deny any wrongdoing.
The court previously heard that Mark Wright had been a director and shareholder of the group.
There had been unhappy differences between the parties in 2018 and Mark Wright left the group in 2019 before going on to start up his own business.
It is claimed that neither side was happy with the other’s adherence to a settlement agreement and legal proceedings were issued.
In adjourning the action, with the injunction remaining in place, Mr Justice O’Moore also noted that the department has made an application to be joined to the proceedings.
The case will return before the court later this month,