Civil engineering firm secures temporary injunction against blockade allegedly put in place by receiver

Civil engineering firm secures temporary injunction against blockade allegedly put in place by receiver

A civil engineering company has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing security operatives hired by a fund-appointed receiver from blockading the entrance of the firm's County Galway-based headquarters.

Coffey Construction Limited secured the interim order against receiver Mr David O'Connor of the firm BDO in respect of blockade that commenced earlier this week at Moanbaun, Athenry, Co Galway.

The High Court heard that arising out of a dispute over Coffey Construction's lease on the property last Tuesday morning 15 security guards with two large white vans and dogs physically blocked access to Coffey Construction's HQ.

Hugh J Byrne Bl, for Coffey Construction, said the receiver was appointed by financial fund Promontoria (Arrow) Ltd in 2017 over certain assets belonging to Coffey Construction's landlord Oldbridge Plant Ltd.

Counsel said that there had been some correspondence between his client and the receiver's agents, where an issue arose over the validity of Coffey Construction's lease for the property in Athenry.

Counsel said it is his client's case that it has a valid lease, for which it pays €100,000 per year, for the premises.

Counsel said that the blockade started at 7am on Tuesday morning last, and was mounted in a way that prevents vehicular access to the property.

Counsel said that the security guards, who describe themselves as bailiffs, did not carry any mandatory identification or license numbers as required under the Private Security Services Act.

He said it is believed that the staff are employees of Blackwater Asset Management or Praetorian.

The matter has been reported to the Private Security Authority, counsel said.

Counsel said Coffey Construction, which has 280 employees, 88 of whom are based in Athenry, said the workers were eventually able to gain access to the premises.

However, they have to park over 2.5km away, which presents health and safety concerns to its employees, especially at this time of year.

Counsel said that in correspondence since the blockade was mounted the receiver has stated that he is entitled to continue the blockade and that the receiver is entitled to take possession of the subject property.

Counsel said that his client's case is that the blockade is unlawful and should not be allowed to proceed.

The injunction was granted on an ex-parte basis by Mr Justice Tony O'Connor this afternoon.

The judge granted orders including one restraining the defendants and his agents from restricting the company's access to the property at Maonbaun, Athenry.

Noting the evidence put before the court the judge said he was satisfied to grant the orders sought.

The case will return before the court next week.

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