Two longstanding casual food and drinks sellers who operate their businesses at Dún Laoghaire’s East Pier have launched a High Court challenge against the local county council’s decision to revoke their trading licences.
The action has been brought by Bryan O’Kane who runs the Bryan’s Coffee at the entrance to the East Pier on Queen’s Road, Dún Laoghaire since 2015 and David Harper who runs and owns the gourmet fish and chip Say Fish outlet, which has traded from an adjoining pitch since 2005.
Last August they claim that “without warning” Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council informed them that it was revoking their casual trading licences.
They oppose the decision, which they claim is unfair and unreasonable, and want to continue to trade from the pier.
In a sworn statement to the court, Mr O’Kane said that while there has been discussions with the council over the last number of years about moving his kiosk to another location he said that “no prior warning was ever given to me that my licence was ever at risk of being revoked”.
The council stated in its decision that this was being done due to allegations that the business had obstructed pedestrian and vehicular traffic, littering and nuisance caused by equipment.
He said that he has always tried to address any issue raised. He upgraded his generator, and installed a sound barrier, in an attempt to greatly reduce any noise issue.
His employees, who conduct “litter patrols” also ensure that there area around the kiosk is kept clean and tidy.
He said that while the council removed bins from that area he maintains a bin at the kiosk.
He also said that his business does not cause any obstruction to traffic, as any loading and offloading is done during off peak times, and is done in a matter of minutes.
Mr O’Kane also said that for some time he had difficulties in securing details of any complaints made to the council about his business, by way of freedom of information requests, before the decision to revoke his licence was made.
Represented by David Kennedy SC and Katherine McGillicuddy Bl the two traders seek various orders and declarations in their judicial review proceedings against the council.
These include an order quashing the council’s decision to revoke their licences
The also seek various declarations from the court including that the council has acted unreasonably, disproportionately, in breach of fair procedures and in breach of their rights to work and earn a livelihood.
They further seeks a declaration that they are entitled to casual trading licences for an unlimited period, and damages.
The matter came before Ms Justice Niamh Hyland on Monday, who on an ex-parte basis granted the applicants permission to bring the challenges against the council.
Mr Kennedy said that his side intends to write to the council seeking assurances that his clients’ kiosks will not be removed by the local authority, and can continue to trade, pending the outcome of the action.
If no such assurances are given counsel said his clients would return to court and seek a formal stay on the revocation orders, over their concerns that their property could be “moved in the middle of the night”.
The judge gave the applicants liberty to apply for a stay should the need arise.
The case will return before the court in January.