Group agrees to leave Cork building


A group occupying an unfinished office block in Cork city centre and seeking to turn it into a community resource building today agreed to vacate the premises after a court granted an injunction to the owners of the building ordering them to leave.

Padlake Ltd had sought the interlocutory injunction against three named defendants - Liam Mullaney, Patrick Buckley and Mark John Redmond - over their occupation of Stapleton House at the junction of Smith Street and Oliver Plunkett Street in Cork.

Today at Cork Circuit Court, Judge Sean O Donnabhain granted the injunction against Mr Mullaney and anyone else aware of the ruling, ordering them to vacate the premises while the other two defendants, Mr Buckley and Mr Redmond both undertook not to enter the building.

Barrister for Padlake Ltd, Jim Duggan BL said his clients had bought the premises on October 18th, 2006, and although the recently constructed office block was not connected to electricity, water and sewerage services, the owners were in negotiations to lease the building.

He opened an affadavit from Padlake Ltd director Barry Doyle in which Mr Doyle said the defendants and others associated with the Occupy Cork Movement had unlawfully entered the premises by breaking a padlock on the Smith Street entrance on January 1st last.

Mr Doyle in his affadavit went on to say he had made a formal complaint of trespass to gardaí on January 3rd last and went with gardaí to the premises where he and the gardaí asked the defendants to leave the building and they refused to do so.

He said the defendants and the Occupy Cork Movement had posted a video on the internet of them entering the building entitled "A Christmas Gift to Cork" and had advertised plans to renaming the building the "Cork City Centre Community Resource Centre".

He also said the defendants had held a ceilí and a disco in the building and given that there were open lift shafts and a risk of fire from mobile generators, the owners were seriously concerned that somebody might be injured on the premises.

Mr Doyle said Padlake Ltd had been struck off the Register of Companies around February 25th, 2011, for failing to file annual returns to the Companies Registration Office but that it had since been restored to the Register of Companies.

Defendant Liam Mullaney, in an affadavit, said that the Cork Community Resource Centre was an umbrella organisation for voluntary and community groups and that they had taken possession of the building peacefully without forced entry after an anonymous donor gave them a key.

Mr Mullaney said it appeared to him Padlake had only filed accounts and sought to restore the company to Register of Companies in response to the occupation of the building. He also raised questions about Padlake’s title to the property.

Mr Mullaney said that he believed the building was now wholly owned by Anglo Irish Bank after it appeared Padlake took out a loan from the bank when it bought the building from Ernst & Young in 2006 for €7 million.

He said he believed that Padlake could not have been meeting its repayments to Anglo Irish Bank as it was dissolved for the past year and given that Anglo is now taken over by the State, the State is at a continuing loss which is being suffered by the people of Ireland.

Stapleton House is a vacant resource that could be used to meet certain social needs, said Mr Mullaney, adding that the Cork Community Resource Centre had been careful not to respect the building and make sure it was safe to people to use.

Judge O Donnabhain said he accepted Mr Mullaney and others may through their occupation have forced Padlake to re-register the company which was of benefit to the State, but he refused an application by Mr Mullaney to let the matter go to trial over the issue of title.

He accepted undertakings from defendants Mr Buckley and Mr Redmond that they had only been in the building once and would not return again, but he granted an injunction against Mr Mullaney ordering him and anyone else in the building to vacate the premises.