Saturday 24 March 2018

Brian O'Driscoll seeks injunction to restore water in row at golf hotel complex

THE owners of a number of luxury Wexford holiday homes, including Irish rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll, are seeking a High Court injunction requiring a company to restore the water supply to the houses in a dispute over management fees.

Mr O'Driscoll is one of a number of owners of 60 houses which are part of the Seafield Demesne Hotel and Golf development in Ballymoney, Co Wexford.

Fifty-nine people who own 33 of the houses, including Mr O'Driscoll, are seeking an order requiring Seafield Demesne Management (SDM) Ltd to restore their water supply, which was allegedly cut off in March.

They also want an injunction restraining interference with sewage services, although SDM's counsel said yesterday this service has not and will not be cut.

Mr Justice Kevin Feeney, who will give his decision on the injunction application tomorrow, noted yesterday it was agreed between the parties that the owners involved had either paid a total of €207,130 under protest to SDM or into their solicitor's account in relation to management fees due since the dispute began in 2007.

The court also heard that only those houses which were not occupied all year round had had their water cut.

Ronan Murphy SC, for the owners of the 33 houses, told the court the essence of the dispute was that there had been a failure by SDM to justify the amount of the service charge.

The figures did not charges on the basis of costs and expenses but "on some other unknown basis", counsel said.

Martin Hayden SC, for SDM, said his client was owed €335,000 for 2008 to 2011 and some of the plaintiffs had not paid for four years while others had not paid for two years.

During this time, SDM had continued to provide services which did not just include water and sewage but other matters such as maintenance of landscaped areas and access to the beach.

When the owners bought these houses, they signed up for an annual management fee of €2,750 and they could not now "pick and mix" what services they would like to pay for, counsel said.

He disputed claims the charge was excessive saying the equivalent fee for mobile home in the same area of Ballymoney, used for just eight months of the year, is €2,300.

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