Judge urges parties to settle Bellinter House Hotel dispute

Restaurateur Jay Bourke and hotel manager at odds over terms of contract to run boutique hotel

Cora Dwyer claims she is entitled to the benefit of a five-year contract to manage Bellinter House Hotel (above) with the Bourke Reynolds Partnership.

Cora Dwyer claims she is entitled to the benefit of a five-year contract to manage Bellinter House Hotel (above) with the Bourke Reynolds Partnership.

 

When Cora Dwyer signed an agreement with restaurateur and publican Jay Bourke to manage Bellinter House Hotel, which he co-owns with nightclub entrepreneur John Reynolds, he asked her: “Now what are you going to do for Uncle Jay,” she told the High Court Tuesday.

Ms Dwyer claims she is entitled to the benefit of a five-year contract to manage the hotel with the Bourke Reynolds Partnership and seeks specific performance of an element of the deal which the joint owners deny ever existed.

Ms Dwyer told Mr Justice Paul Gilligan that Mr Bourke made the remark after they had both signed two copies of the five-year contract during negotiations that had taken place in the hotel library in early 2014.

She did not expand on Mr Bourke’s remark which had stuck in her mind following a conversation about the new agreement. She said Mr Bourke had taken away both copies and she had not seen her copy since. He had told her that if she ever needed her copy, he would produce it.

Ms Dwyer, of Harris Hill, Kilcock, Co Kildare, said Mr Bourke had told her he had got her the five-year agreement and wanted to know what she was going to do for him.

Hopes of settlement

Most of Tuesday’s proceedings were taken up with adjournments for talks in the hope that an out-of-court settlement might be reached between the parties. Mr Justice Gilligan told them this morning he had read a considerable amount of documentation and felt it was in both party’s interests to see if the matter could be resolved.

He asked if Mr Reynolds, “one of the most astute businessmen in the city of Dublin”, would have taken on a month to month tenancy of managing the hotel as was suggested Ms Dwyer had done.

Mr Justice Gilligan later said an agreement with the previous managers of the hotel, which Ms Dwyer said she adapted for her own purposes of reaching agreement with Mr Bourke, contained a six-month termination clause which she said she had not noticed.

The Bourke Reynolds Partnership have denied that they had given Ms Dwyer a five-year lease.

Notice to quit

Ms Dwyer told the court on Tuesday she now believed she had been used to continue management of the hotel until the owners had found a buyer for it. In January last she had been given notice to quit.

In 2013, she had formed a new company, DCM Hotels Limited, to run the hotel, which she had attempted to buy for €1.9 million, and said she would not have taken it up on a month to month tenancy. She had booked weddings into August 2017.

Initially she had sought court orders directing Bourke Reynolds Partnership to renew a liquour licence for the hotel but, when told the owners could not do this if she was claiming a five-year lease, her proceedings had been broadened to include a declaration she had a valid lease.

The case is expected to last for another two days but Judge Gilligan, in adjourning the matter until Wednesday again prompted both parties to seek a solution to their difficulties.