Wednesday 21 February 2018

Receivers must leave Harbourmaster pub in IFSC so it can trade during Ireland-Italy rugby game

The Harbourmaster bar
The Harbourmaster bar

Tim Healy

Receivers must vacate a Dublin pub they have taken over so it can continue to trade during this weekend's Ireland-Italy rugby international, the High Court ruled.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan granted an injunction requiring receivers Jim Hamilton and David O'Connor to leave the Harbourmaster pub and restaurant in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) until the case returns to court next week.

The judge was satisfied to grant the order as he said this was a dispute over a single issue relating to the amount of rent payable by the pub operators.

He noted the takeover by the receivers occurred just before an international rugby weekend which would be "very viable" for the business.

The pub operators, SD Entertainments Ltd,  claim the receivers are not entitled to forfeit the lease. 

SD's main shareholder, Sean Doyle, who is also involved in a number of other pubs, claimed the receivers had without notice drilled through the locks of the pub on Thursday and gained access to the premises, and were also armed with the alarm codes.

Applying for the injunction on a one-side only represented basis, David Kennedy SC, for SD, said his client had paid the previous landlord an agreed reduced rent.

The landlord's loans for the pub were taken over by NAMA who later sold them on to US hedge fund Cerberus last January, counsel said.

They appointed receivers who forcibly entered early on Thursday morning.

Mr Doyle has a 19 year lease on the premises, with an option to buy first should it be put up for sale.  He had also put €400,000 worth of fittings into it, counsel said.  It employs 45.

Counsel said the reduced rent had been paid up to the last two or three payments and that was only due to an issue of the new landlord requiring VAT invoices to be furnished, for which his client had an explanation.

Mr Doyle was prepared to continue paying that rent.

It would be possible to have the premises re-opened immediately so it can meet its schedule commitments for this weekend including a 50th birthday party, counsel said.

Mr Justice Gilligan said he was satisfied to grant the temporary injunction requiring the property be vacated, and preventing further alleged trespass, until the case returns next week. 

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