High Court judge asks hotelier and Bellinter House Hotel owners to seek a solution to their difficulties
When Cora Dwyer signed an agreement with restaurateur and publican Jay Bourke to manage Bellinter House Hotel, which he co-owns with nightclub entrepreneur John Reynolds, he asked her: “Now what are you going to do for Uncle Jay,” she told the High Court today.
Dwyer claims she is entitled to the benefit of a five-year contract to manage the hotel with the Bourke Reynolds Partnership and seeks specific performance of an element of the deal which the joint owners deny ever existed.
Dwyer told Mr Justice Paul Gilligan that Bourke made the remark after they had both signed two copies of the five-year contract during negotiations that had taken place in the hotel library in early 2014.
She did not expand on Bourke’s remark which had stuck in her mind following a conversation about the new agreement. She said Bourke had taken away both copies and she had not seen her copy since. He had told her that if she ever needed her copy he would produce it.
Ms Dwyer, of Harris Hill, Kilcock, Co Kildare, said Bourke had told her he had got her the five year agreement and wanted to know what she was going to do for him.
Most of today’s proceedings were taken up with adjournments for talks in the hope that an out-of-court settlement might be reached between the parties. Judge Gilligan told them this morning he had read a considerable amount of documentation and felt it was in both party’s interests to see if the matter could be resolved.
He asked if Mr Reynolds, “one of the most astute businessmen in the city of Dublin,” would have taken on a month to month tenancy of managing the hotel as was suggested Ms Dwyer had done. Judge Gilligan later said an agreement with the previous managers of the hotel, which Ms Dwyer said she adapted for her own purposes of reaching agreement with Mr Bourke, contained a six-month termination clause which she said she had not noticed.
The Bourke Reynolds Partnership have denied that they had given Ms Dwyer a five-year lease.
Ms Dwyer told the court today she now believed she had been used to continue management of the hotel until the owners had found a buyer for it. In January last she had been given notice to quit.
She had in 2013 formed a new company, DCM Hotels Limited, to run the hotel, which she had attempted to buy for €1.9 million, and said she would not have taken it up on a month to month tenancy. She had booked weddings into August 2017.
Initially she had sought court orders directing Bourk Reynolds Partnership to renew a liquour license for the hotel but when told the owners could not do this if she was claiming a five-year lease her proceedings had been broadened to include a declaration she had a valid lease.
James Dwyer SC, with Barrister Niall Cavanagh and solicitors David Powderly and Co, appeared for Ms Dwyer. Gary McCarthy SC, with barrister Ross Gorman and solicitors John O’Connor and Co, appear for the hotel owners.
The case is expected to last for another two days but Judge Gilligan, in adjourning the matter until tomorrow again prompted both parties to seek a solution to their difficulties.