Galway city school secures injunction over out-of-hours car park

St Patrick’s School at Lombard Street wanted local business to stop using school playground

St Patrick’s School at Lombard Street in Galway city. Photograph: Google StreetView

St Patrick’s School at Lombard Street in Galway city. Photograph: Google StreetView

 

A primary school in Galway city has secured an injunction against a local business over the operation of an out-of-hours car park on the school’s playground.

St Patrick’s School at Lombard Street in Galway city centre had sought the injunction requiring Eoghan O’Neachtain Ltd to deliver up vacant possession of the playground to the school and remove any of the company’s belongings on the site.

The school’s board of management claimed the defendant company had refused to vacate the playground and that it has asserted it has a lease on the site.

The school, which has 200 pupils and whose patron is the Bishop of Galway, says it has never entered into a lease agreement with anyone in respect of the playground.

Barrister Michael O’Connor Bl, instructed by Owen Swaine Solicitors, for the school, said it had a licence arrangement rather than a lease, which allowed the playground be used as a car park from 3pm to 9pm on school days as well as from 8am to 9pm on holidays and weekends for a monthly fee.

The licence, which was renewed annually, was first with Mairtin O’Neachtain in 1999 and then with his son Eoghan O’Neachtain. Counsel said that in recent years the school had an agreement with Eoghan O’Neachtain’s company.

It had expired at the end of January.

Granting the injunction, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said he was satisfied that the defendant’s right to occupy the premises by agreement had expired and any continuing or future right to operate on the school’s property was contingent on the defendant establishing that the previous agreement created a tenancy.

“Given my view as to the limited prospects of the defendant establishing” that proposition, Mr Justice Hunt said a “high value” attached to the preservation of the status quo arising on the expiry of the previous agreement at the end of January.

Mr Justice Hunt granted the injunction and put a stay on the order pending a possible appeal. He awarded costs to the school, on a Circuit Court scale, and put a stay on that award until next October or further order.