Dunnes Stores has been ordered by the High Court to reopen the doors leading from its shop in Edward Square Shopping Centre in Galway, which it disabled in mid June.
Mr Justice Brian J McGovern said the doors had been operated normally onto Castle St and Barrack Lane, Galway, for the previous 15 years as a means of access to and egress from the centre for customers of all stores in the centre.
He granted Camiveo Limited, landlords of the centre, an injunction against Dunnes Stores restraining the continued locking of the doors and said that if the automatic opening mechanism remained disabled a technician could be found to open them immediately.
Judge McGovern told Declan McGrath, counsel for Dunnes, that the injunction would continue until the full hearing of the substantive trial of the issues regarding the doors between Dunnes and Camiveo.
In a reserved judgment, he said it appeared the doors had been designed and intended to be the main entrance-exit at the shopping centre although there were a number of other entrances-exits at other locations.
Castle St-Barrack Lane was the common concourse from which all the shops in the centre could be accessed.
He was satisfied the landlord had raised a fair or serious question to be tried later by the court.
Dunnes was the anchor tenant which was of some significance.
“If the purpose of having an anchor tenant is to draw shoppers to the premises of that tenant and thereby benefit the other tenants in the centre it would seem odd and contrary to normal commercial letting principles that the premises of the anchor tenant cannot be accessed from Castle St-Barrack Lane,” the judge said.
Dunnes had raised a number of issues as to why an interlocutory injunction should not be granted, one of which was the fact there was no ‘keep open’ clause in its lease.
He said the point was not whether Dunnes was obliged to keep the store open at all times or at particular times but rather whether the doors should be used as a means of ingress to and egress from the store during its trading hours.
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