The High Court has heard that “international superstar” Michael Flatley and his family are “devastated” at having to leave their county Cork period home after an extremely hazardous chemical residue was detected in the property.
He claims that parties including the main contractor that carried out works to repair damage caused to Castlehyde, which is outside Fermoy, during a fire in June 2016, and his insurers knew about the residue, but never informed him about it, nor were any steps taken to fix the problem.
The 65-year-old former ‘Riverdance’ star claims that he, his wife Niamh and their son Michael St James cannot reside at the protected structure, which he has invested over €29 million in since he acquired it in 1999, as it is currently unsafe for human habitation.
Mr Flatley says that it will cost some €25 million and take two years to remedy the problem.
He is suing the Austin Newport Group Limited, the alleged main contractor that carried out remediation works on the property in 2016, and the insurers of Castlehyde Am Amlin Underwriting Ltd, AXA XL Underwriting Ltd, and Hamilton Managing Agency Ltd.
The entertainer is seeking damages from those parties for their alleged negligence, endangerment, deceit, breach of health and safety regulations, building regulations and breach of his property rights.
He has also brought proceedings against Mr David Cushion, who the court heard had been his accountant, and broker who had allegedly arranged the plaintiff’s insurance.
Mr Flatley claims that unknown to him Mr Cushion was paid commission and acted as an agent for the insurance firms, and has sued him for alleged breach of contract.
Mr Flatley also seeks judgment in the sum of €25 million.
The court heard that last October the Flatleys left their home after experts conducting routine maintenance of the house detected high and unsafe levels of chloride residue from PVC on the walls and furniture of the property.
Mr Flatley’s counsel Ronnie Hudson BL instructed by solicitor Max Mooney, said that the residue came from the combustion of PVC during a fire at the property in 2016, and is carcinogenic.
Counsel said that Mr Flatley claims that the main contractor, which was hired by the insurers to do remedial works, was aware of a problem with the residue while it was working on the property in 2016, but did not disclose this information to his client.
Counsel said that an email dated August 5th, 2016 allegedly sent to the defendants was recently discovered in a box of other documents allegedly left in Castlehyde.
It stated that unacceptably high levels of chloride content from the combustion of PVC had been detected, and would have “an adverse effect” on metal components in the property, counsel said.
In his proceedings Mr Flatley claims the remediation works carried out were defective, done in a negligent manner and defects, including the PVC residue were hidden from Mr Flatley.
“I believe I was one of the fittest people in Ireland, and despite the same I developed cancer” Mr Flatley said, adding that he has also instructed solicitors to bring separate personal injuries proceedings.
Counsel said that his “international superstar and multi award winning client” and his family are “devastated and distraught” over having to leave their home.
The matter came before Mr Justice Liam Kennedy the High Court on Tuesday.
Following an ex parte application to the court the judge said that he was satisfied to grant the plaintiff permission to serve the proceedings on the defendants which are all based in the UK.
The case will return before the court at a later date.
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