Dispute over Shelbourne Greyhound Stadium car park operation before High Court

Stadium owner wants car park to be vacated and delivered up by firm which operated it

Shelbourne Park Stadium. File photograph: Google Street View

Shelbourne Park Stadium. File photograph: Google Street View

 

The owners of Shelbourne Greyhound Stadium in Dublin are seeking a High Court order requiring the venue’s 245-space car park to be vacated and delivered up by a firm which operated it for a number of years.

Shelbourne Greyhound Stadium (SGS) Ltd is seeking injunctions against Best Carpark Ltd and its director Frank Moore of Foxlodge, Ratoath, Co Meath.

On Friday, Mr Justice Senan Allen gave the stadium company leave, following a one-side only represented application by Stephen Brady BL,for SGS, to serve short notice of its intended proceedings on the defendants.

In an affidavit, Philip Peake, a director of SGS and Greyhound Racing Operations Ltd, which operate the stadium, said in 2014 Mr Moore’s company entered into a two-year agreement to generate income from the car park outside racing times.

Best Carpark installed its own pay and display machines and signage.

In April 2020, SGS, as a commercial semi-state organisation and a wholly owned subsidiary of what was then called the Irish Greyhound Board (now Greyhound Racing Ireland) was subject to an annual audit by the Government spending watchdog, the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The Comptroller raised queries about the management and entitlement of Best Carpark to operate the facility in circumstances where all such enterprises should first be put out for public tender.

SGS then learned that in 2016 Mr Moore had purportedly entered into another agreement to continue to operate the car park for up to another 12 years.

Mr Peake said the 2016 purported agreement was addressed to a senior management representative of SGS and a junior employee. The agreement had the signature of the junior employee but not of the senior manager who had no recollection of signing it, Mr Peake said.

Such an agreement would have required the approval of the SGS board, as it would involve the creation of multi-million euro contract, and this was never given.

Mr McPeake said the company told Mr Moore the contract would have to be put out to tender but Best Car Park did not participate in that process. APCOA was the winning tenderer and moved to take over the car park earlier this month.

SGS notified the defendants to remove their pay machines and signage but Mr Moore refused to do so. SGS then covered the machines in advance of removal but says Mr Moore went in on July 6th and removed the coverings. Mr Moore was observed erecting signs on the premises as recently as last week and APCOA signs were taken down by him, Mr Peake said.

A number of car park users also had confirmation slips on their windscreens which appeared to show they had paid Best Car Park even though Mr Peake said that company had no involvement in the operations since July 5th last.

There was extensive pre-litigation correspondence between the parties in which no agreement was reached.

As a result SGS seeks orders from the court prohibiting the defendants from trespass, collecting money from car park users, or holding themselves out as having any entitlement to manage the property.

It also seeks orders that they remove any signage, machines and other property and provide keys and alarm codes relating to the property.