A row over the possession and use of several adjoining properties that are allegedly being used for raves, gigs and as a community centre on Dublin’s northside has come before the High Court.
Garvagh Homes Limited has brought proceedings alleging it owns properties including a former carpet showroom and a garage at a site at 364-374 North Circular Road and 168-89 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7, which it wishes to redevelop into apartments and commercial units.
It claims the properties have been unlawfully taken over by several trespassers who have no legal right or entitlement to be there and have occupied the buildings for several months.
The company’s claims have been denied by some of the residents, who allege they have an entitlement to reside at the properties.
In High Court proceedings against the occupants, the majority of whom have unknown identities, Garvagh claims part of its property is being used as a venue for events including music gigs, raves, Irish language classes, a herbal workshop and fitness classes.
It alleges the events have been advertised on social media.
Represented by Paul Fogarty BL, Garvagh also claims alcohol has been sold on the premises.
The court heard that parts of the overall property, which it acquired in 2021, are the subject of a fire safety notice issued recently by Dublin City Council’s fire officer.
That notice is due to come into effect on December 8th.
The company wants various orders requiring those residing at the property to vacate the buildings, cease trespassing and hand over vacant possession.
The action has been brought against a few named parties who are alleged to be in occupation of the site, including Shane O’Brien, Jem Cleaver and Emily Martin, as well as “persons unknown”.
Mr O’Brien, who is represented by solicitor David Thompson, and Ms Cleaver, who represents herself, are opposing the injunction application and reject allegations made by the plaintiffs including that alcohol is being sold on the site.
They have also rejected various safety claims and say steps are being taken to address some of the fire safety concerns raised by the fire officer.
Those defendants claim they have entered into a valid agreement allowing them to reside at the properties.
Ms Martin has not participated in the proceedings since the case first came before the court in mid-November.
It is also intended to join a Stephen Kavanagh, who told the court he also resides at one of the properties, but only recently became aware of the case.
When the matter was before the High Court this week, Mr Justice Rory Mulcahy granted the plaintiff company a temporary limited injunction restraining the named defendants and anyone who has notice of the order from carrying out any activities on the properties.
The judge said that the evidence put before the court to date is to the effect that the plaintiffs are the owners of the properties and are entitled to possession of them.
However, the judge said that he was declining to make any orders at this stage of the proceedings requiring those living there to immediately vacate the properties.
The court’s order only applies to those already residing in the properties, and does not apply to any others who may attempt to move in, the judge added.
The judge said he was taking the fire safety notice issued by Dublin City Council into consideration.
Mr Justice Mulcahy also said he hopes to hear the plaintiff’s full injunction application before the courts adjourn for Christmas.
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