Sunday 17 December 2017

Renowned sculptor secures High Court order allowing access to studio

Exchange Street, Temple Bar
Exchange Street, Temple Bar

Aodhan O'Faolain'

Renowned sculptor Paul Ferriter has secured a High Court order allowing him regain access to the Dublin city centre based studio he had been locked out of by his landlord.

Mr Ferriter has been working out the studio located on the third floor at the building at 18 Upper Exchange Street, in Temple Bar since 2006.

On September 11th last the locks on the premises he uses as a studio and office were changed by a security firm acting for his landlord, Rockyvale Ltd.

The High Court heard the parties are in dispute over Mr Ferriter's entitlement to a lease at the property. Rockyvale Ltd says that Mr Ferriter's lease expired in April.

The court also heard that Rockyvale has plans to develop the site and its counsel Mr William Abrahamson Bl said that the building, known as Fashion House,  is to be "demolished."

Mr Ferriter says he is entitled to a new lease given he has been in continuous occupation of the studio for more than five years.

As a result of the landlord's action, Mr Ferriter represented by John Donnelly Bl, was unable to access his studio.

Mr Donnelly said Mr Ferriter had very grave concerns he would be unable to complete projects he had been working on in time, and that his reputation would suffer irreparable damage.  

He sought orders from the High Court which allowing him back into the studio. The application was opposed by the defendants.

At the High Court on Monday Mr Justice Robert Haughton granted Mr Ferriter injunctions against both Rockyvale Ltd and K-Tech Security, the firm hired by the landlord, restraining them from interfering with the sculptors' access to the and egress from the premises.

The Judge said he was also satisfied to grant an order restraining the defendants from interfering with Mr Ferriter's use and enjoyment of the premises. The injunctions are to remain in place pending the full hearing of the dispute.

The Judge, who had earlier refused an application by the defendants to adjourn the case, did give the defendants permission to return to court at any time before the full hearing and seek to have the injunctions lifted.

Among his best know works Mr Ferriter of Clonsilla Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 has completed sculptures of many famous sporting figures including one of GAA founder Michael Cusack that is located in Croke Park.

He has also sculpted international golfers including Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Christy O'Connor Jnr and Snr, and the racehorse War of Attrition.

Seeking the injunctions Mr Donnelly said his client had been paying €800 a month in rent for the property to his previous landlords O'Mole Investments International Ltd until March of this year, when the building was sold.

He said he then received various correspondence including letters telling him to quit the property as his tenancy had expired. He was also informed that he had not paid rent. Mr Ferriter rejected that claim.

After the building was sold he had made inquiries as to who he should pay rent to. In July when he discovered Rockyvale had bought the building he offered to pay all the rent due to them.

It declined to accept the money from Mr Ferriter, counsel said.

On September 11th he was informed that the locks on the premises had been changed and security guards had been employed by K Tech had been deployed to prevent him accessing the studio.

He needs access to the studio because it where he keeps documents, templates and drawings, as well as moulds used in the creation of his sculptures.

Counsel said his client believes he is entitled to a lease given he has been based at the studio since 2006.  Mr Ferriter will make an application to Dublin Circuit Court for a declaration that.he is entitled to such a lease, counsel added.

Opposing the application Mr Abrahamson said Mr Ferriter's lease had expired last April.  Rockyvale was not just seeking vacant possession of the building from Mr Ferriter. It has plans to develop the entire property, counsel said.

Counsel said his client had made an offer Mr Ferriter allowing access to the studio so he could remove any materials he required. 

The matter will return before the courts later this year.

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