Dispute over purchase of property by Mercantile pub group adjourned pending talks

Lawyers in talks to settle row over sale of property next to Opium Bar in Dublin


A legal action over an alleged agreement by the owners of the Opium Bar and Restaurant on Dublin’s Wexford Street to buy a next-door property has been adjourned pending talks aimed at resolving the dispute.

Trebleside DAC, which owns the Opium Bar, brought proceedings against John Hallinan, Geraldine Hallinan, Claire Cullen and TFF Food Ltd alleging failure by the defendants to complete a deal entered into in March.

Trebleside, part of the Mercantile Group of bar/restaurants, represented by Gary McCarthy SC, claims it entered into an agreement with the Hallinans on March 27th that would see it acquire neighbouring property owned by them at 38/38a Camden Road, Dublin, in a €1 million-plus deal.

It is claimed Ms Cullen, Ferndale House, Convent Road, Delgany, Co Wicklow and TFF Food Ltd are the occupiers and leasehold owners of the ground floor of 38 Camden Row from which a coffee shop, Fat Fox, operates.

Trebleside claims, for reasons unknown to it, the defendants have reneged on that agreement and it wants orders requiring specific performance of the agreement.

The court was told the defendants had on numerous occasions objected to the continuing operation of the Opium bar. The Hallinans, The Grove, Greystones, Co Wicklow, had brought numerous actions, including proceedings before the Circuit Court in 2017 under section 160 of the Planning and Development Act, alleging excessive noise from the bar.

TFF Food and Ms Cullen had also complained about noise from Opium.

Trebleside denies any breach of the Opium Bar’s planning permission and said the Circuit Court proceedings were struck out in January for want of jurisdiction. It claims the Hallinan’s have brought other proceedings in the High Court seeking identical orders to what they sought in the Circuit Court.

Trebleside claims the defendants’ continued opposition to operation of the Opium Bar is having a detrimental effect on its business. As a result of the various disputes, it claims it entered into agreements in which the Hallinan’s were to be paid more than €1.1 million for the premises, TFF Food was to get €100,000 and all outstanding actions brought by the defendants against Trebleside were to be compromised.

Trebleside claims the agreements have not been completed and wants orders requiring the Hallinan’s to take all steps to sell the property to Trebleside in accordance with the agreement. It also seeks injunctions restraining the defendants objecting to any planning applications by Trebleside in respect of the Opium Bar.

The case was admitted to the Commercial Court list by Mr Justice Brian McGovern on Monday but, following settlement talks between lawyers for both sides, the entire proceedings were adjourned and are due for mention before the court on Tuesday.