A dispute over an alleged right of way between the Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI) and apartment owners adjoining the college's property at St Stephen's Green, Dublin has been admitted to the fast track Commercial Court list.
The action arises out of the RCSI's plans to demolish an existing building and build a new €88m education and research facility at its property at the Ardilaun Centre close to apartments at Ardilaun Court owned by Sharon O'Malley and her brother Conor O'Malley.
The O'Malleys say that for more than 20 years they have been accommodated by rights of way from their properties over the RSCI's land without interruption.
The O'Malleys claim they made submissions in January 2019 concerning an application to Dublin City Council made by the RCSI for planning permission to carry out its proposed redevelopment on the site.
As a result, they claim the RCSI responded by demanding they cease exercising their rights of way and accused them of trespassing.
The denial of their rights, the O'Malley's claim was motivated by spite and malice and was intended to intimidate them in their right to participate in the planning process.
The O'Malleys called on the RCSI to recognise their rights of way, but claim the RCSI has failed to do so.
Their claims are entirely refuted by the RCSI, which does not accept that they enjoy a right of way over the Ardilaun Centre.
In their action, the O'Malleys seek various orders and declarations including that they are accommodated with a right of way from their properties at Ardilaun Court over the RCSI's adjoining premises, and that the RCSI is not allowed to interfere with or obstruct their right of way.
They also seek orders restraining the RCSI from interfering with their rights of way directing the Property Registration Authority to provide for their right of way and damages.
The dispute was admitted to the fast track Commercial Court list by Mr Justice Robert Haughton today.
The RCSI, represented by Esmonde Keane SC, applied to have the case admitted to the list on the basis that the case has the potential to prevent the implementation of any planning permission granted on foot of the application.
Given the substantial investment in the proposed redevelopment project, where counsel said €7m has already been spent, the RCSI was most anxious to remove the uncertainty and have the matter determined as soon as possible.
Any delay to the implementation of any permission would have significant consequences for the RCSI in terms of its financing arrangements in place to the fund its proposed new facility.
The O'Malleys, represented by Peter Bland SC and Delores Keane Bl, opposed the application on the ground that the case does not have a commercial component, and was a dispute concerning rights of way.
The Judge, however said he was satisfied to admit the case to the court list.
The matter was adjourned to a date in the new legal term.