The High Court has quashed an order requiring a Cork landlord to implement noise management measures at his properties under threat of a fine or prison sentence.
However, residents of the Magazine Rd area in Cork City say they will “reserve the right” to return to court if the situation reignites.
A series of late-night house parties in the properties of landlord Fachtna O’Reilly last year, which saw the student residences close to UCC dubbed ‘party central’, led to local residents taking a case in Cork’s District Court against Mr O’Reilly.
District Court Judge Olann Kelleher had ruled that Mr O’Reilly had to take measures to reduce the noise levels, with any breaches punishable by a fine up to €1,000 and/or a 12-month prison sentence.
That ruling was quashed yesterday in the High Court, with Mr Justice Charles Meenan stating that Judge Kelleher’s decision had been beyond his authority, irrational, and lacking in jurisdiction.
Reacting to the High Court decision, Catherine Clancy, of the Magazine Road Residents Association, said the District Court order had caused an “overnight improvement for adjoining residents”.
“We didn’t have any disturbances since that order was put in place,” Ms Clancy said.
Local independent councillor Mick Finn said the residents’ action in going to court had “brought the issue to a head”. He said that the decision to overturn Judge Kelleher’s ruling is “disappointing, because these issues are very real for the residents”.
“You had been dealing with a situation where there was noise through the night, and particularly in the summer with the younger students who hadn’t been able to go on holidays," Mr Finn said.
“The decision put the spotlight on the landlords in a situation which was very distressing and very frustrating for the locals. It’s important that landlords continue to live up to their responsibilities."
Commenting on the High Court decision, solicitor for Mr O’Reilly said his client is “very relieved to have his position vindicated”.
He said the Residential Tenancies Board, and not the courts, was the “appropriate environment in which these issues should have been ventilated”.