Dublin printing firm Reads takes landlord to court over access to premises during redevelopment

Dublin printing firm Reads takes landlord to court over access to premises during redevelopment

The owner of the well-known printing business Reads has brought a High Court action against the landlord of its city centre premises in a dispute over access to the premises.

The action has been brought by O'Flaherty's (Nassau St.) Limited which trades as Reads against Setanta Centre Unlimited Company, the owner of an office building on Dublin's Nassau Street.

The defendant, which is owned and controlled by the family of businessman Larry Goodman, owns the Setanta Centre, which is being redeveloped over the next two years at a cost of €150m.

In it its action the owner of Reads, represented by Michéal O'Connell SC and John O'Regan Bl, operates an outlet within a campus known as the Setanta Campus, which is just to the South of but visible from Nassau Street.

O'Flaherty's claims that the defendant, as part of its redevelopment works, has blocked off the entrance to Nassau Street.

It had been previously arranged that a temporary access route would be put in place, but O'Flaherty's claim that they have been informed of the defendant's intention to erect hoarding across that temporary access, rendering the premises completely inaccessible.

The plaintiff hopes that under the Government's recently published Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business it will reopen to customers in the coming days.

However, it claims that by boarding up the entrance its business and the employment of its workers will be put at risk.

O'Flaherty's claim that the actions amount to breach of its right of way. It claims that the defendant is trying to make life difficult for it so its business fails, and it can be bought out of its lease prematurely.

As a result, it is seeking an injunction requiring the defendant to remove the obstruction currently blocking access to the retail premises.

The injunction application is opposed.

Represented by Rossa Fanning SC, the defendant rejects the allegations of wrongdoing or that it is trying to put the applicant out of business.

It says it has tried to accommodate the plaintiff, whom it says has been aware of its plans to redevelop the property since 2018.

It says that as part of the redevelopment works it has taken steps to comply with health and safety advice, and is mindful of regulations brought in arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

O'Flaherty's, however, say that they have yet to see the health and safety advice cited by the defendant.

Previously, the plaintiff secured permission from the High Court to serve short notice of the injunction proceedings on the respondent.

The matter was briefly mentioned before Mr Justice David Barniville who, following discussions between the parties, adjourned the hearing of the injunction application to a date later this month.

Mr O'Connell told the court that an application will be made to have the dispute admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court list.

Counsel also added that there would also be separate proceedings brought by his client alleging that the defendant had acted outside of the planning permission it had acquired.

In reply, Mr Fanning said his client rejects that allegation.

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