The Square is latest NAMA-backed shopping centre to take legal action against Dunnes Stores
THE Square in Tallaght has taken legal action against Dunnes Stores in the latest in a string of actions by NAMA-backed shopping centres against the grocery giant.
Papers filed with the High Court show Square Management Ltd has initiated a legal case for summary judgment against Dunnes Stores Dublin Ltd, the first stage in trying to recover a claimed debt through the courts.
Square Management is the company behind the Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght, where Dunnes is one of the anchor shops.
Accounts for loss-making Square Management show it is reliant on the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) for financial support, including rolling over debts of €17m owed to the agency that would otherwise be payable on demand, and deferring interest on the loans.
According to the High Court filing, the case was being initiated against Dunnes Stores Dublin Ltd, part of the wider Dunnes Stores group.
Papers were filed on January 28.
The latest case is the second action in two years initiated by Square Management against Dunnes Stores.
Solicitors firm Noel Smyth & Associates is representing Square Management in their action. Noel Smyth himself is a former director of Square Management, though he resigned from the board of the company last year, as did a number of other former directors.
The case is just the latest in a series of actions against the grocery giant by property companies that are financially dependent on the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).
The most serious and high profile was action by Holtglen, a NAMA-backed property developer, which sought to have the supermarket chain wound up over a claimed €21m debt in 2012.
That stand-off was ultimately ended when Dunnes made the payment and Holtglen withdrew its application to wind up the company.
NAMA was widely seen as the main instigator of the Holtglen action because it was the financial backer standing behind the bust developer.
It is understood that NAMA also backed a separate and unrelated action against Dunnes taken in late 2012 by the Harry Crosbie-linked Point Village Developments Ltd.
The Point Village case was part of a long-running dispute between the developer and Dunnes Stores over contracts in relation to an anchor-store site at a new shopping development in Dublin's IFSC.
That case was decided by Justice Mary Laffoy in what amounted to a draw for the two sides.
Dunnes Stores was ordered to fit out the anchor store but only once seven other tenants had been secured to move into the largely vacant development.