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Bewley's and landlord agree to mediation over alleged rent arrears

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Bewley's Café on Grafton Street, Dublin. Photo: Collins

Bewley's Café on Grafton Street, Dublin. Photo: Collins

Bewley's Café on Grafton Street, Dublin. Photo: Collins

A dispute between Bewley's Café on Dublin's Grafton Street and its landlord over alleged rent arrears is to go to mediation.

Having been told of the development at the Commercial Court yesterday, Mr Justice David Barniville "very much welcomed" that the parties had engaged constructively and had agreed to go to mediation and he wished them every success with that.

RGRE Grafton Ltd, a company controlled by developer Johnny Ronan, initiated proceedings earlier this month against Bewley's Café Grafton Street Ltd for summary judgment of €747,000 over alleged rent arrears and for possession of the premises.

Ross Aylward BL, for the landlord, previously told the court RGRE was the successor in title of the premises, leased to the defendant since 1987.

He said the annual rent due was approximately €1.4m. But following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the defendant asked for a rent holiday of six months.

RGRE declined that application for reasons including it believed the defendant had the means to discharge its rent obligations, counsel said.

The tenant's parent company, Bewley's Ltd, which RGRE says is owned by the family of businessman Patrick Campbell, was sitting on cash reserves of over €6m, counsel said.

The café did not reopen after certain restrictions on businesses were lifted in late June, counsel said.

Yesterday Mr Justice Barniville was told the sides had agreed to go to mediation on July 20.

Irish Independent