Friday 20 September 2019

Squatters in Dublin 7 cottage ordered to leave within four weeks

Sean Fitzgerald, pictured leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts
Sean Fitzgerald, pictured leaving the Four Courts after a Circuit Civil Court action. Pic: Collins Courts

Ray Managh

SQUATTERS in a Dublin cottage, owned by a sister and brother who live in Australia, have been told by a judge to quit the property within the next four weeks.

Owen Donnelly, counsel for the siblings, said that an undertaking had been given on behalf of the group to leave the cottage and retired nurse Lorraine Lyons and businessman Peter Harte were prepared to give them a month to get out.

Mr Donnelly said the cottage on Shamrock Street, Phibsborough, had been left to Ms Lyons and Mr Harte by their aunt who used to live there.  The property had lain vacant for some time as title deeds could not be found and ownership had to be legally reconstructed.

He said the couple wanted to sell the cottage now as house prices were on the rise and agents acting on their behalf had been unable to gain access to prepare the property for sale.  The group, including “businessman” Sean Fitzgerald, had illegally taken up occupation of it.

Ms Lyons, of Kangaroo Point, Sylvania, Sydney, in a sworn statement had told the court she and her brother were seeking to recover vacant possession.  In September 2016 it had been found that the locks on the house had been changed and squatters had taken residence.

Mr Donnelly said the squatters had received warning letters but had refused to move out.

Judge Linnane said Mr Fitzgerald seemed to be a businessman with an email address connected to Ballad Tours, Dublin.

Fitzgerald, who represented himself and described himself as homeless without any money, told the court he was speaking on behalf of everyone in the property and they had all undertaken to leave.  He asked for a month to facilitate his finding somewhere to live.

Judge Linnane granted Ms Lyons and Mr Harte an interlocutory injunction, stayed for four weeks, directing Mr Fitzgerald and anyone else in the property or anyone with knowledge of the making of the court order to give up possession.

She also restrained Mr Fitzgerald and his co-squatters from preventing or obstructing agents of the Australian siblings from taking possession of the cottage and directed that keys for the locks be passed to the agents concerned.

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