Friday 22 September 2017

Stop spreading the news - newspaper vendor fights for patch after 40 years

George Davis (Picture: CourtPix)
George Davis (Picture: CourtPix)

Ray Managh

A newspaper vendor, who has sold millions of papers over almost 40 years from a buggy, has been told to move from his stand at the main entrance doors to Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre.

Whether George Davis will continue spreading the news in the harbour town hangs on a court's attitude to evidence of a purported contract "agreed" by barristers John Peart, now a senior counsel, and Mary Finlay, now Appeal Court Judge Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan.

Judge Francis Comerford was told in the Circuit Civil Court that solicitors involved in a late 1970s bid to shift Davis from his George's Street site had been struck out by the High Court on foot of the settlement.

Barrister Mark O'Riordan, who appeared with Kenny Sullivan Solicitors for Davis, told the judge the written agreement could not be found and had not been made an order of court at the time. Davis and a number of staff who worked the pitch gave evidence to the court.

John Peart SC said that when the shopping centre was being built in the 1970s, a hoarding around the construction site contained "an indentation" - a deed - from which Mr Davis, of Hadleigh, Ballybride Road, Rathmichael, Dublin, continued to sell his papers to passers-by.

He said the then Ms Finlay had drawn up an agreement which they both signed stating that Davis (pictured) could sell his newspapers from the central entrance.

"It clearly gave Mr Davis a right to sell his newspapers at the front entrance only of the shopping centre for his lifetime," Peart told Mr O'Riordan. "The case was over. We went into court and had it struck out."

Coltard, which acquired the centre in 1998, plans a €10 million redevelopment of the centre involving the creation of two large anchor stores fronting on to Marine Road and onto George's Street.

Raymond Delahunt, counsel for Coltard, told the court that at no time since 1998 had Mr Davis paid a rent to Coltard and his unauthorised use of the shopping centre entrance to sell papers had never been sanctioned by the company.

Mr Delahunt, who appeared with Baily Homan Smyth McVeigh Solicitors, said Mr Davis's use of the property was no more than a mere licence, which was revocable at Coltard's option.

Judge Comerford has reserved judgment.

Irish Independent

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