Dispute over lease of Barge Inn pub


A dispute over the lease of The Barge Inn pub in Dublin has come before the High Court. The Barge Inn Ltd, operator of the Barge Inn, on the banks of the Grand Canal, wants orders restraining the landlords forfeiting the pub’s lease and re-entering the premises.

The landlords of the pub, once owned by former billionaire Seán Quinn, are Quinn Hospitality Ireland Operations Three Ltd, a company now controlled by Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank. It is opposing the application and in a counterclaim is seeking possession of the premises.

IBRC took over ownership of The Barge and some other pubs on foot of debts owed.

The operating company, controlled by businessman Philip Hickey, claims it entered into a 20-year lease in 2004 with the then owners at annual rent of €400,000. It claims the lease agreement was varied in 2010, reducing the rent to €273,000.

Last October, the landlord sought rent arrears of €250,000, which was paid the following month, the operator claims. The landlord then told the operator the revised rent agreement of 2010 was temporary and proposed to terminate it, it is claimed.

It is alleged the landlord served a forfeiture notice last January and claimed rent for November and December 2012 based on annual rent of €400,000. In attempting to terminate the 2010 lease agreement, the defendant is acting in an unlawful manner and in breach of contract, it is claimed. The operator wants a declaration the annual rent is €273,000, plus damages.

The defendant denies it has acted unlawfully and contends it is entitled to possession of the premises. The hearing resumes next week before Ms Justice Mary Laffoy.