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Crosbie says Dunnes delay has hindered Point Village development

THE continuing failure of Dunnes Stores to open an anchor store in Dublin's Point Village has hindered the development of a shopping centre there, lawyers for businessman Harry Crosbie claimed yesterday.

If Dunnes did not move to fit out its store, the shopping centre would not open this year, Mr Crosbie also said in an affidavit to the Commercial Court.

A company of Mr Crosbie's has initiated proceedings against Dunnes arising from its alleged failure to honour agreements to fit out the anchor store.

The court heard last May that Mr Crosbie negotiated a deal with the UCI/Odeon Group for a cinema at the development.

The case is the third between the sides arising from a development agreement of February 2008 for construction of the anchor store at North Wall Quay.

Declan McGrath, for Point Village, applied to Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday to fast-track the case to the Commercial Court.

He described it as a bid to enforce a settlement of previous court proceedings requiring Dunnes to have completed the fit-out of the store by April last.

Dunnes had ignored its obligations under that settlement, counsel said. This continued failure to open the store meant the shopping centre development had been stymied with "huge commercial consequences", counsel said.

Paul Coughlan, for Dunnes, opposed the transfer of the case to the Commercial Court because it was not made with the urgency required for such cases.

Mr Coughlan argued that Mr Crosbie had delayed for a commercial advantage until the negotiations with UCI had completed so as not "to scare the horses".

Mr Justice Kelly declined to transfer the case because of the delay in bringing the application.

Irish Independent