Marquee erected at halting site for wedding reception taken down following court order

Judge gave local authority leave to hire contractor to remove structure if defendants refused to do so

Judge Sinéad Ní Chulacháin granted Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council leave to hire an independent contractor to remove the marquee if defendants Michael and Johanna Connors refused to do it themselves. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Judge Sinéad Ní Chulacháin granted Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council leave to hire an independent contractor to remove the marquee if defendants Michael and Johanna Connors refused to do it themselves. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

 

A marquee erected at a Dublin halting site ahead of a planned wedding reception this evening has been removed following a court order.

The marquee was erected at a halting site at Burton Park on the Leopardstown Road in Dublin to celebrate the wedding of a couple married earlier today in Co Armagh.

The parents of the couple were told by Judge Sinéad Ní Chulacháin on Wednesday to take down the marquee.

She granted Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council leave to hire an independent contractor to remove the marquee if defendants Michael and Johanna Connors refused to do it themselves.

Gardaí arrive at Burton Park, Leopardstown in Dublin this afternoon. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
Gardaí arrive at Burton Park, Leopardstown in Dublin this afternoon. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
A limousine arrives as gardaí and contractors remove the wedding marquee at Burton Park, Leopardstown this afternoon. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
A limousine arrives as gardaí and contractors remove the wedding marquee at Burton Park, Leopardstown this afternoon. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
A table is removed as gardaí and contractors remove the wedding marquee at Burton Park, Leopardstown this afternoon which has been ordered to be taken down by a court. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
A table is removed as gardaí and contractors remove the wedding marquee at Burton Park, Leopardstown this afternoon which has been ordered to be taken down by a court. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The judge also told the local authority’s barrister Niall Flynn she would make an order restraining the Connors, and anyone else knowing about the injunction, from interfering with contractors demolishing the marquee.

Mr Flynn, who appeared with solicitor Liz Neary for the council, said Mr Connors on Tuesday told a council official he knew he was breaching tenancy and Covid-19 rules and regulations, but that the reception would go ahead

“Council acting administration officer Liam Donovan was told by Mr Connors last evening that his son was getting married this morning in Co Armagh and the marquee was to facilitate the bridal party among 40 guests and would be going ahead,” he said.

Mr Flynn told the Circuit Civil Court that when told he was breaching regulations, Mr Connors replied: “I know all that. I know I’m breaching my tenancy but it is my sons’s wedding and he has no other place to go.”

The council was also given leave to broadcast the court’s orders on national radio stations even as the bride and groom and their guests were on their way from Co Armagh for the planned 6pm reception in Burton Park.

‘Accept the consequences’

Mr Donovan said the Garda was supporting the council’s application and when he asked Mr Connors to take the marquee down, he replied: “I can’t take it down. My son’s wedding is going ahead and I accept the consequences of not taking it down.”

Ms Neary, a solicitor in the council’s legal department, said after the injunction application that the council would be moving immediately to take the marquee down or hire an independent contractor to do the work for it.

The judge said she noticed from photographs of the marquee taken by Mr Donovan that there were 11 tables surrounded by chairs in the marquee, enough to seat more than 60 people.

Mr Flynn told the court the council considered the planned reception to be a breach of Covid-19 regulations in the middle of a global pandemic as well as breaking a tenancy agreement. The local authority was also concerned about the lack of insurance cover for the event.

Judge Ní Chulacháin gave the council leave to serve personal notice on Mr Connors and also to pin up notices outlining details of the court’s orders. The judge also directed that everyone associated with the reception, including the bridal party and guests, be warned they had been restrained from entering the marquee.

There was a large garda presence as gardaí and contractors removed the wedding marquee at Burton Park, Leopardstown this afternoon. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
There was a large garda presence as gardaí and contractors removed the wedding marquee at Burton Park, Leopardstown this afternoon. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

This afternoon there was a heavy garda presence as the marquee was taken down.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, in a statement, said it was made aware yesterday of an unauthorised temporary structure that was erected at a council property in Leopardstown.

“Due to the unauthorised nature of the temporary structure and concern that the structure was to be used to facilitate a large scale gathering, the council sought leave from the Dublin Circuit Civil Court for an order to remove the structure should the owners not do so themselves. At a court sitting today Judge Sinéad Ní Chúlacháin granted leave for the council to do so.

“Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council can confirm that it carried out the removal of the temporary structure as per the court order.”