Former politician Ivor Callely is being sued by a tenant who claims he locked her out of the Chinese restaurant she ran from one of his properties.
Karen Lam also alleges that the former Fianna Fáil minister of state kept goods and money belonging to her.
Ms Lam, who ran a Chinese restaurant at 191 Howth Road, Killester, Dublin, claims she entered into an agreement with Mr Callely to rent the property in July 2014 and paid a €4,000 deposit.
She claims the premises contained a limited amount of furniture and equipment at the time and she had made “considerable improvements” at her own expense.
In Circuit Civil Court proceedings, Ms Lam alleges that about a year later, after both parties had negotiated rents due and owing, Mr Callely unlawfully took possession of the premises, changing the locks and retaining her fixtures and fittings.
She claims that when she, her husband and an engineer, attended the property and requested the goods and deposit be returned, Mr Callely pulled down the shutters in an “aggressive and threatening” manner, locking them all inside.
She alleges that, despite repeated requests, Mr Callely refused to return her goods comprising of a Chinese gas cooker worth €6,000, a dishwasher, two refrigerators, two computers, a television, deep fat fryers, a grease trap, 50 chairs, plate warmers, a stereo system, chopping boards and kitchen utensils.
Ms Lam, of Park Place, Drogheda, Co Louth, claims Callely is using her goods for his own purposes.
She claims she suffered loss, damage and inconvenience, trespass and false imprisonment. She also claims that Callely’s withholding of her goods constitutes an unjust enrichment to himself.
Ms Lam seeks in her proceedings a judgment in the sum of €4,000 and a mandatory injunction directing Callely to return her goods.
Peter M Douglas, for Ms Lam, told County Registrar Rita Considine that despite several attempts to serve the former politician with the court proceedings, it had been impossible to do so
The court heard that a solicitor from Mr Douglas's office had tried to serve Mr Callely personally at his office in the Killester premises and also at another address at St Lawrance Road, Clontarf, Dublin.
Mr Douglas said he had been informed that Mr Callely was selling his office in Killester. The court heard he was seen cycling and entering the Killester premises last month and the post sent to this address was still being collected.
Mr Douglas said during his application, which was made ex-parte (one side only), that Ms Lam was now seeking an order for substituted service.
Ms Considine directed that Mr Callely be served with the court proceedings by ordinary pre-paid post.