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Marc Godart tenants evicted from building in Suffolk Street, Dublin

Commercial tenants rented rooms from a front company set up by Godart that had its registered address in the Dublin 2 premises

Commercial tenants of controversial landlord Marc Godart were evicted without notice from the upper floors of a building on Suffolk Street in central Dublin earlier this week after it was discovered he had leased the floors using a front company.

A number of tenants, who returned to the building on Thursday afternoon to collect furniture, stock, equipment and other belongings, said they had been paying their rent in cash for the past two months after the bank account into which they had been paying the money stopped working.

In February The Irish Times reported that Godart, a Luxembourg businessman involved in residential and commercial lettings who targets the foreign-national sector, was using “paper directors” and nominee shareholders to set up companies with which he had no apparent association but which he in fact owned and controlled.

Among the companies identified was Valendale Limited, which was incorporated in February of last year with an address at 22-23 Suffolk Street. It negotiated a lease on the upper floors of the Dublin 2 building and then sublet rooms to approximately 15 business tenants, most of them foreign nationals operating businesses such as a beauty salon, a hairdressers and a psychic and spiritual healer service.


It is understood the lease was terminated when it came to the attention of the other party to the lease that Valendale had misrepresented its true ownership.

“On Monday night we were told that the building was closed, and we were really shocked,” said a Brazilian woman who has been running a beauty parlour in two rooms in the Suffolk Street building since October. “We are really shocked and devastated by this situation.”

The woman, along with two colleagues, paid €1,100 a month to Valendale for the two rooms. About two months ago a problem developed with the Valendale account “and they said that now everything has to be paid in cash”. A Brazilian man would collect the money for Valendale and give a receipt, the woman said.

A Thai woman who ran a massage business since June from one room in the building, for which she paid €700 per month, said she learned on Tuesday that she was being evicted. She said she would now have to store her equipment in her home.

“I don’t know where I am going to go, what I am going to do. To treat me like this, like I am not a human being, it is awful.”

Neither woman wanted to disclose their identity. On Thursday afternoon a number of people of various nationalities were being let into the building to collect their property by a man who did not want to say whom he represented. Among those collecting their belongings was the Brazilian man who collected the rent in cash from the tenants. He did not wish to comment when approached by The Irish Times.

Godart, who rents out property that he owns as well as subletting property that he leases from others, is a director or secretary of more than 50 Irish companies, most of which are involved in short-term residential letting. He specialises in renting out beds in rooms containing multiple beds, some of which he advertises on Airbnb.

Last month the Tánaiste, Micheál Martin, responding to questions in the Dáil from Labour leader, Ivana Bacik, said he believed a number of matters raised in recent reports in The Irish Times about Godart, including the use of paper directors and nominee shareholders, might require investigation, including by the Corporate Enforcement Authority. Requests for comments from Godart met with no response.

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Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent