Council seeks to close Temple Bar restaurant over fire risk

By Ann O'Loughlin

A judge has urged Dublin City Council and the operators of a new bar and restaurant in Temple Bar to go to mediation in a row over concerns about public safety under the building regulations.

The Council is seeking a High Court order to close the first floor "Roberta's" restaurant, part of Dollard House, between Wellington Quay and Essex Street, until the requirements of the regulations are met to eliminate safety risks.

These require the owner/operators obtaining a regularised fire certificate for the restaurant, a disability access certificate, and a valid certificate of compliance on completion of works.

Workman's Club Ltd, which has leased the premises, and Keywell, which is the owner of the building, deny there is any safety risk and say they are implementing measures to address the council's concerns.

They also say a liquor licence was granted for Roberta's which included fire safety approval on the basis that certain measures are taken. A similar application is pending before the licensing court in relation to the ground floor and basement areas.

Roberta's restaurant in Dublin.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, who last week gave the council permission to serve short notice of the proceedings on the defendants, agreed to the defendants' request for an adjournment until the end of the month after hearing they needed time to reply to certain new claims being made by the local authority.

The judge said there seemed to be no good reason why the parties should not go to mediation to resolve the case which could take a long time to deal with if it goes to full hearing.

He also directed the council to provide the defendants with a list of specified measures which it says are required.

David Holland SC, for the defendants, said an adjournment may also facilitate mediation which had been offered on Tuesday to the council by his clients.

Stephen Dodd BL, for the council, disagreed it would benefit from mediation.

He said while certain measures have been carried out, the council was not satisfied the concerns had been properly addressed and his side could not definitively say at this stage there was no fire risk.

Mr Dodd said senior council building control officer, Pat Nestor, had said in a recent affidavit that in his 15 years in building control the non-compliance with the regulation in this case was "extraordinary and unprecedented".

Mr Justice Noonan said it would be unfair to deal with the case without giving the defendants an opportunity to respond to the council's 60-paragraph affidavit in which it raises its concerns and he was adjourning the matter.

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