Dublin City Council ought not to have brought contempt proceedings against a receiver trying to sell residential properties which had to be vacated on fire safety grounds, the High Court has been told.
Rossa Fanning SC, for receiver Stephen Tennant, made the comment when contempt of court proceedings against Mr Tennant over the three 190-year-old properties at Seville Place, off Amiens Street, Dublin, were struck out on consent on Thursday.
Mr Fanning said the contempt case should not have been brought because the council itself had got a court order last October that the properties, which were divided into flats and bedsits, be vacated immediately on fire safety grounds.
Mr Tennant was appointed as receiver over the properties by AIB Mortgage Bank and AIB three years earlier, October 2016.
The buildings continued to be occupied despite last October’s court order and last month the council sought to bring an application for attachment and committal to prison of Mr Tennant for contempt of the October court order over the continued occupation of the premises.
Talks took place between representatives for Mr Tennant and the council. In the meantime, the properties had been vacated.
On Thursday, Mr Justice Charles Meenan was told the properties had been vacated and both sides agreed the contempt of court application could be struck out.
Mr Fanning said the council “ought never” have brought the contempt application because it was in a position to obtain vacant possession on foot of the court order last October.
Counsel said the vacate order will remain in place until Mr Tennant sells the properties and the purchaser carries out works which comply with the fire regulations.
If the receiver sells he will no longer be in control of the properties, counsel said. He asked the court to note, as it was the intention to sell them, the purchaser would be entitled to apply to vary the vacate orders.
Conleth Bradley SC, for the council, said there was agreement to strike out the contempt application but not to vary last October's orders.
Mr Justice Meenan said, while Mr Fanning’s suggestion might be the most practical way to go forward, he would not vary the October order in the absence of consent to do so. An application could be made later in that regard.
He struck out the contempt application.