Court of Appeal upholds Dublin Port Company’s entitlement to possession of property leased by Harry Crosbie’s son

Site required for wider redevelopment of the port for core import and export activity, DPC says

The Court of Appeal has upheld a decision that the Dublin Port Company (DPC) is entitled to possession of property that had been leased to a haulage company of businessman Simon Crosbie, son of Harry Crosbie who once had large interests in the docklands.

The semi-state DPC claimed Automation Transport Ltd had been overholding on a lease for the former Heatons builders’ providers timber storage property at Promenade Road.

The DPC said it required the property for wider redevelopment of the port for core import and export activity.

In 2019, the High Court ordered Automation to vacate and hand over possession of the property by December 31st of that year to the DPC.


It also rejected a counterclaim by Automation, which operated a road haulage business from the premises, that it was entitled to a new tenancy.

In the 2019 decision granting DPC possession, the High Court’s Mr Justice Denis McDonald also criticised the DPC for bringing its proceedings against Automation before investigating certain claims it made.

These included a mistaken claim that Automation was in breach of its lease by processing plastics on the premises and another claim about the failure to keep them in good repair

The judge said it was “surprising and very unsatisfactory” that any party, but particularly a public body like the DPC, would make an allegation about breach of a covenant to repair the premises without first inspecting the premises, he said.

The property was leased to Simon Crosbie’s company in February 2013. The Promenade Road premises were held under leases by Harry Crosbie companies along with two premises at Tolka Quay Road.

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At the time, Harry Crosbie was in Nama (National Asset Management Agency) and following negotiations involving Harry, Nama and the DPC, an agreement was made to sell the three premises to the DPC for €5 million.

As part of the deal, his son’s haulage business could move to Promenade Road under a new lease. Promenade Road largely consisted of an open hardstanding concrete surface, some rudimentary corrugated iron sheds and a two-storey office building.

The new lease contained a provision that the tenant was to execute a “deed of renunciation” waiving any right to renew the lease. It also contained a break clause allowing either party to terminate the lease on its fifth, 10th, 15th and 20th anniversary.

In 2017, the DPC exercised the break clause on its fifth anniversary but Automation disputed it and the DPC then brought overholding proceedings against Automation.

Following the High Court decision, Automation appealed.

In a just published decision of Mr Justice Maurice Collins and Mr Justice Robert Haughton, with whom Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington agreed, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court judgment.

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