A PREMISES housing a VIP piano bar and night club, and run as an extension of Dublin’s internationally-famed Unicorn Restaurant, has been re-possessed by its new South African-based owners.
An order granted today by Judge Jacqueline Linnane, directing the legal take-over of No 5 Merrion Court, Merrion Row, Dublin, will present major operating problems for almost halve the area of the adjoining Unicorn.
The Circuit Civil Court heard that, apart from the Unicorn’s use of No 5 as a piano bar and night club, it housed the restaurant’s hot water boiler, staff dressing room, water tank and ice-making machine.
Barrister Jeananne McGovern, counsel for the new owners, told the court that the tenancy rights of Unicorn’s restaurateur directors, Jeffrey Stokes, Pia Bang Stokes and Giorgio Casari had ceased to exist over No 5 with the termination on December 31st last of a 35-year lease.
Ms McGovern outlined to the court that Ms Georgina Drum was the plaintiff in the proceedings and legal personal representative of the late Angus Diarmuid Seymour Kinkead Allen, of Raleigh Lodge, Musgrave, Durban, and formerly of Killiney Towers, Killiney, Co Dublin.
As part of his will he had left No 5 to Carol Allen, Avenue Fresnaye, Fresnaye, Capetown, South Africa, and Ciaran Allen, Howarth Road, Lane Cove, North Sydney, Australia, who had granted Ms Drum power of attorney.
Ms McGovern told the court the defendants Jeffrey Stokes and Pia Bang Stokes lived at The Mill House, Enniskerry Road, Kilternan, Co Dublin, and Mr Casari lived at (No 6) The Priory, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16. The lease had been assigned to Springmanor Limited which, to Ms Drum’s best information, operated the Unicorn which ran No 5 as a wine bar restaurant with direct access from the Unicorn.
Springmanor Limited had gone into liquidation in March 2011 and John O’Connor, solicitors for Mr Allen’s estate, had sought possession of No 5 on termination of the lease. The defendants had baldly asserted an interest in No 5 which was denied.
Ms Drum had alleged in a civil bill that since December 31 last the defendants had been and continued to be unlawful trespassers at No 5. They had, without permission, continued to operate a successful commercial business from No 5.
Ms McGovern said the defendants, as late a January 18th last, had been asked to give up vacant possession and desist from trespassing. They had refused to allow Ms Drum’s surveyors enter No 5 and had declined to assure Ms Drum that No 5 was properly insured.
The court heard there had been confusing references to a number of companies, including Springmanor Limited, City West Hire Limited and Dino Classico Limited, which had been struck off for failure to make returns, and that no-one seemed to know who owned the Unicorn.
Judge Linnane granted Ms Drum an order for possession of No 5 with costs against all three defendants.