Film director Sheridan allowed to itemise alleged home defects

FILM director Jim Sheridan and his wife, Fran, have been allowed by the High Court to specifically itemise alleged defects in the construction of their luxury seafront home at Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke held that updated consolidated particulars of negligence and breach of contract did not include claims of negligence not originally listed in their €4 million action. He said the service of new particulars on a builder, sub-contractors and professionals engaged in the building of the Sheridan home not so much expanded the couple’s claim as contracted it by making more specific the allegations previously stated.

Barrister Oisin Quinn, SC, for the Sheridans had told the court the couple intended their home, the site of a former fisherman’s cottage they bought in 1997, to be one of the finest and most spectacular coastal properties in Ireland. As a result of alleged negligence on the part of various parties engaged in the design and construction of “Martha’s Vineyard” on Coliemore Road, Dalkey, the house had suffered from extensive water ingress.

Mr Quinn earlier told the court the damage had frustrated efforts to sell the property in 2007 at a time when it would have achieved a price in the region of €7 million.

He said the couple now had to service mortgages on two exceptionally expensive properties. They had another property at St Mary’s Road, Ballsbridge.

Mr Quinn said the Sheridans claimed that two potential purchasers who were aware of the water problem had pulled out and the property was now worth between only €3m and €4.5m.

Architects De Blacam and Meagher, St Catherine’s Lane West, Dublin, one of eight defendants, had asked the High Court to restrain the Sheridans from “expanding” on their original case.

Mr Quinn, following Judge Clarke’s ruling, was awarded costs against De Blacam and Meagher on the motion they brought to block the inclusion of new particulars of claim.

Allegations of negligence have been made with regard to waterproof concrete used in the sub-frame of the house and the design and installation of windows and doors used in the sea-facing front of the house.

A London-based company, Gilmac Building Services Ltd, now insolvent, and earlier stated to be the “villain of the piece”, no longer participates in the case.

Companies sued, who fully deny all claims, are De Blacam and Meagher; Simon Hollingworth and Associates Ltd, London; Cementaid (UK) Ltd and Cementaid, Dublin; Walsh Goodfellow Consulting and Structural Engineers, Dublin; Moortown Construction (Ireland) Ltd, Co Mayo and Moortown Construction Ltd, West Yorkshire.


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