The landlord who owns two of the student houses near University College Cork, which have been dubbed ‘Covid Party House’ and ‘Party Central’, was found by a district judge to have turned a blind eye to the concerns of residents.
After hearing an environmental complaint by residents against the landlord for two hours today, Judge Olann Kelleher said he accepted the evidence of the residents.
“I am accepting the evidence of the witnesses about the terrible time they have had. I accept the evidence of these people who are moving on in years. It is very sad to hear people cannot sleep at night." he said.
“(Landlord Fachtna O’Reilly) says it is not his problem, it is the students. He has turned a blind eye. He hasn’t much interest in the residents of the area as far as I can see. He seems to answer all questions in a similar way, that the students have rights. But people living in the area have rights.
“He says the problem was caused by UCC and The Rock Bar but he is the beneficiary of students living in the area,” said Judge Kelleher.
The judge made no order in the case but adjourned it for one week for that purpose. In the meantime he said it was a matter for the landlord to “make all the running” in terms of remedying the situation.
Judge Kelleher said he could not direct the landlord to serve notices to quit on the students but he said this was a matter which Mr O’Reilly could consider with his solicitor, Eamon Murray.
Mr Murray submitted that because of the unusual circumstances of Covid-19 restrictions, young people found themselves with no jobs and no travel for the summer and ended up attending these houses. The solicitor said it was not as if the two houses were “Sodom and Gomorrah".
David McCoy, for the residents who brought the action today under the Environment Protection Act, said during cross-examination of the landlord: “You let them (tenants) off to do what they like as long as you are getting your rent, isn’t that it?”
Mr O’Reilly replied: “It is not it. It is in my interests to run a good ship.”
The landlord said that evicting a tenant was easier said than done, adding: “It took me 14 months to get a drug out of a house.”
At the end of the hearing today, Judge Kelleher emphasised that it was up to the landlord to decide what steps to take this week.
Judge Kelleher said, “I will adjourn it for one week for him to take steps. I don’t want to catch him on the hop. I want no noise this week. I find the facts proved. It is up to him to make all the running. I cannot force him to make orders to quit.”
The judge said he found as a fact that there was noise as a nuisance and that Mr O’Reilly was responsible.