Injunction sought over ‘stray’ electricity from adjoining bakery

Owners of fire-damaged Clonmel building say bakery and ESB ‘passing the buck’

The former joinery’s fire expert found the roof of the building had become ‘energised’ with electrical sparks, the court heard. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The former joinery’s fire expert found the roof of the building had become ‘energised’ with electrical sparks, the court heard. Photograph: Aidan Crawley


The owners of a building damaged in two recent fires are seeking a High Court injunction restraining an adjoining bakery and the ESB from allegedly allowing “stray” electricity from the bakery’s supply line to enter or transmit into their premises.

Declan Gavigan and Laurence Noonan own a former joinery building at O’Neill Street in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, next door to Hickey’s Bakery.

They say Hickey’s and ESB Networks are “passing the buck” to one another over efforts by a Gavigan/Noonan expert to carry out an inspection of the bakery electrical installation so their premises can be made safe and demolition works carried out.

On Wednesday, Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds granted David Kennedy SC, for Mr Gavigan and Mr Noonan, permission to serve short notice of the injunction proceedings on Hickeys and ESB Networks.

The service application was made on a one-side only represented basis.

In an affidavit, Mr Gavigan said, following the first fire last March, they engaged a fire expert. As the electricity to the property had been disconnected, it was not believed this had been the source of the fire.

Another blaze broke out on May 8th causing further damage, he said.

Their fire expert found the roof of the former joinery had become “energised” with electrical sparks passing between metal roof sheets, he said.

The ESB attended and, when the neutral cable from Hickey’s supply, which was passing through their premises, was disconnected, the sparks stopped.

Correspondence was exchanged and a site inspection involving representatives of all parties took place on June 3rd.

Demolition planned

Further work was carried out by the ESB but, notwithstanding this, the ESB confirmed the former joinery building was still energised, Mr Gavigan said.

He said he wants to engage contractors to demolish the fire-damaged property.

There is a public safety issue as metal roof sheets have been blown off into a nearby car park, he said.

This cannot be done until their fire expert can be assured it is safe for demolition workers to go in, he said

In correspondence, Hickey’s say works have been carried out to its property to the satisfaction of the ESB while the ESB says it has received all necessary certification for the bakery electrical equipment. There was “no justification or obligation” on it to go into the bakery to carry out tests, it said.

Granting short service of the injunction application, Ms Justice Reynolds said she saw each of the defendants were “pointing the finger at the other.”

She hoped “sense would prevail” and the matter would not trouble the court when it comes back on Friday.