Judge tells 'cowboy' builder to pay €17,000 damages
A BUILDER, described in court as "fly-by-night", has been told to pay a retired nurse €17,000 after "vandalising her home".
Barrister Robert Beatty told Dublin Circuit Civil Court yesterday that Patrick Dunne had been described in newspaper reports as "a conservatory cowboy" who took deposits, started works but often abandoned them.
Retired psychiatric nurse Siobhan Buckley said she was only one of dozens of callers who rang RTE's 'Liveline', hosted by Joe Duffy, to complain about Dunne and his company, Dunne Construction.
Ms Buckley, of Castleknock, Dublin, told the court contacted Dunne, of Scrawtown, Prosperous, Co Kildare in 2004 to upgrade her conservatory.
Dunne visited her almost immediately, agreeing to replace her conservatory for €14,000.
She had paid him a deposit of €4,000 and, after some initial work, had paid him a further €1,600.
Ms Buckley said Dunne had left the back of her house exposed following demolition of her old conservatory. She had difficulty contacting him and had brought in another builder.
Thomas Gallagher, a chartered surveyor and planning consultant, said Dunne had placed an 8ft-by-8ft concrete slab for the new conservatory on the grass of Ms Buckley's back garden, and partly over a manhole.
Dunne had also knocked down walls and ceilings in a utility room and boiler house, creating what Mr Gallagher had described as a fire hazard.
Ms Buckley had to replace the heating system and renew doors and ceilings, and ultimately had gone for a major extension by the new builder to the rear of her home.
Mr Justice Matthew Deery awarded Ms Buckley €17,000 damages for substantial inconvenience and upset as well as renewal works she had to have carried out as a result of Dunne's demolition work.