TGI Friday's secures temporary High Court injunction against landlord taking possession of premises

By Aodhan O Faolain and Ray Managh

A well-known Dublin City centre based restaurant which employs 60 people faces being "put out of business" in a dispute with its landlords, the High Court has heard.

This afternoon Chicago Rock Cafe Limited, which operates the TGI Friday's at the Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, Dublin, secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing its landlords from taking possession of the premises it has operated from for more than 28 years.

The interim injunction was granted by Mr Justice Tony O'Connor against the restaurant operator's landlords Ventaskel Ltd, Irish Life Assurance Plc and Mirelf VI Irish Investments ICAV on an ex-parte basis, where only one side was present in court.

Seeking the injunction barrister David Whelan Bl for Chicago Rock Cafe said his client entered into a 35-year lease in respect of the premises from where it has operated a franchise for the popular US casual diners TGI Friday's since 1989.

The landlords were seeking to take possession of the premises later this week on foot of a notice of forfeiture it served on the restaurant operator last November giving his client six months to vacate the unit.

Counsel said it is his client's case that the notice is invalid.

Counsel said that under an agreement governing the lease a notice of termination could be served if the landlords obtained a grant of planning permission for the unit.

The landlords had not obtained planning permission when the notice was served. Planning permission was subsequently secured.

Counsel said that the subsequent acquisition of planning permission does not validate the notice.

Counsel said there had been a lot of correspondence between the parties and his client's interpretation of the lease agreement is contested by the landlords.

Counsel said that if his client case is that if it did not secure the injunction, and the landlord retook possession, the restaurant would "go out of business."

The judge, after granting the injunction, adjourned the matter to later this week.

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