Saturday 17 March 2018

Irish Stock Exchange want Dublin's Wax Museum out of landmark premises

Dublin's Wax Museum (Photo: Google Maps)
Dublin's Wax Museum (Photo: Google Maps)

Tim Healy

THE Irish Stock Exchange wants the operators of the National Wax Museum to vacate its landmark premises in Dublin to facilitate a €10m ISE redevelopment project, the Commercial Court heard.

The ISE says the company which runs the museum, KF Internet Software, should deliver up possession of the Armoury Building in Foster Place, College Green, which housed the Irish House of Lords until it was abolished by the Act of Union in 1800.

The ISE bought the building for €2.7m last June from the "Lord Partnership" which had rented it out to the wax museum under licence.

The ISE wants it to facilitate the redevelopment of its adjacent Anglesea Street headquarters in which the Armoury Building will be Incorporated into a single campus.

It says the property was acquired to facilitate continued Irish and international business growth and to cater for a 50 per cent increase in staff numbers.

The case against KF Internet Software was admitted to the Commercial Court by Mr Justice John Hedigan on the application of Cian Ferriter SC, for the ISE.

Aileen O'Donoghue, ISE director of strategy, policy and communications, says in an affidavit the museum operators are claiming they had concluded an agreement with the Lord Partnership to buy the Armoury building a month before the ISE bought it.

The ISE says no evidence of this was put forward and it reminded KF Internet Software that the licence agreement, allowing it to occupy the premises, expired on January 31 last .

KF's solicitors replied it would vacate the property as soon as practicable after it was ultimately determined that it was not beneficially entitled to it under the contract it had with the Lord Partnership.

Due to the defendant's continued refusal to permit access, legal proceedings were initiated, Ms O'Donoghue says.

Paraic Dunning, managing director of KF Internet Software, says in a replying affidavit, the museum is a thriving business and an important tourist facility.

His company had concluded an oral agreement with the Lord Partnership to buy the property on May 28 last following discussions for over a year.   A price of €1.5m was agreed, once the licence arrangement ran out last January, he says.

The company had invested more than €500,000 in the building, he says.

This year is very important for the museum due to the centenary of the Rising and it has entered into agreements with several organisers, along with marketing campaigns on the basis that the company would remain in occupation of the building, he says.

Moving premises would be hugely disruptive of the business and with no alternative, the business will cease in the short term, he says.

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