Head-shop landlord gets injunction to close store
THE landlord of a shop which began selling 'legal highs' last week was yesterday granted legal action to temporarily close the business.
'D3 Head Shop' opened its doors in Clontarf, Dublin, on St Patrick's Day amid a torrent of objections from worried locals.
Just 24 hours earlier the site had been operating as a florist under the same management.
Last night, the High Court granted a temporary injunction, returnable to Thursday, to Patrick and Alice Lynch, owners of the ground-floor premises at 53 Clontarf Road.
The order is against the tenant of the shop, Jeffrey Carey, and restrains him from operating the store as a head shop.
"This is a welcome development," local Fianna Fail senator Ivor Callely said. "In legal terms, we found out last week that the landlord could obtain an injunction.
"He (Mr Lynch) presented final papers last Thursday for an injunction on the use of the head shop and on Friday the files were sent to the tenant's business and home."
The interim order was sought by Brendan Watchorn, counsel for the owners, who said they were very concerned the use of the premises as a florist/gift shop had been changed and was being operated as a head shop selling controversial substances.
Mr Watchorn referred to protests where more than 400 gathered outside the premises last Saturday, and said local community groups were gravely concerned.
The Lynchs, of Seapark Road, Clontarf, had bought it as an investment property, counsel said. It was previously a hairdressers and they had given their consent to have it converted to a florist/gift shop.
Without any warning or consent, the use of the premises had been changed and it became a media issue last Friday when there were phone calls to an RTE radio phone-in programme, counsel said.
It was only then his clients became aware the shop had been converted into a "head shop" and there was a history of these shops being burned down, counsel said. In an act of vandalism, windows had been damaged at his clients' shop last Thursday night.
Mr Watchorn said his clients had also been informed its insurers would not maintain insurance for a head shop because it was completely different from a florist/gift shop.
His clients had a premises which was highly exposed and no longer covered by insurance. If anything happened to the shop within the next 24 hours, there was no insurance and this would be a "catastrophe" for his clients as the shop was effectively their pension scheme.
Mr Watchorn added that the Lynchs lived in Clontarf and had no wish to add to the distress of parents in the area.
Labour councillor Aodhan O'Riordain, who led Saturday's head-shop protest, welcomed the news but said he would continue to campaign against it "until I see it closed down".
"Until it closes, we'll continue our protests next Saturday at 12pm and we intend to keep up the protests every week."