Vacant carpet showroom in Dublin being used for raves and gigs, owner tells court

Garvagh Homes has brought proceedings where it says it owns properties including a former carpet showroom and a garage which it wishes to redevelop into apartments and commercial units

Properties at 364-374 North Circular Road in Phibsboro. Image: Google Street View

Tim Healy

A row over the possession and use of several adjoining properties which are allegedly being used for raves, gigs and as a community centre on Dublin's northside has come before the High Court.

Garvagh Homes Limited has brought proceedings where it says it owns properties including a former carpet showroom and a garage at 364-374 North Circular Road, and 168-89 Phibsborough Road Dublin 7 which it wishes to redevelop into apartments and commercial units.

It claims that the properties have been unlawfully taken over by several trespassers, who have no legal right nor entitlement to be there, have occupied the buildings for several months.

The buildings include the former Des Kelly Interiors showroom on the North Circular Road in Phibsborough, which was previously The Silver Skate ice-skating rink, which closed in 2000, and prior to that was the State Cinema.

The company's claims have been denied by some of the residents, who claim that they have an entitlement to reside at the properties.

In High Court proceedings against the occupants, the identities of the majority of whom are unknown to it, Garvagh claims that part of its property is being used as a venue for events including music gigs, raves, Irish language classes, a herbal workshop and fitness classes.

The events it is claimed have been advertised on social media.

Represented by Paul Fogarty BL, Garvagh also claims that alcohol has been sold on the premises, which it has considerable health and safety issues with.

The court heard that parts of overall property which it acquired in 2021, is the subject of a Fire safety notice issued in recent days by Dublin City Council's fire officer.

That notice is due to come into effect on December 8 next.

As a result the company has sought various orders including injunctions requiring those residing at the property to vacate the buildings, cease trespassing, and hand over vacant possession of the properties

The action has been brought against a number of named parties who are alleged to be in occupation of the site, including Shane O'Brien, Jem Cleaver, Emily Martin as well as "persons unknown'.

Mr O'Brien, who is represented by solicitor David Thompson and Ms Cleaver, who represents herself, are opposing the injunction application and reject allegations made by the plaintiffs including that alcohol is being on the site.

They have also rejected various safety claims, and say that steps are being taken to address some of the fire safety concerns raised by the fire officer.

Those defendants claim that they have entered into a valid agreement allowing them to reside at the properties.

Ms Martin has not participated in the proceedings since the case first came before the court in Mid-November.

It is also intended to join a Stephen Kavanagh, who told the court that he also resides at one of the properties in question, but had only recently become aware of the case, to the action.

When the matter was before the High Court this week Mr Justice Rory Mulcahy granted the plaintiff company a temporary limited injunction restraining the named defendants and anyone who has notice of the order from carrying out any activities on the properties.

The judge said that the evidence put before the court to date is to the effect that the plaintiffs are the owners of the properties and are entitled to possession of them.

However the judge said that he was declining to make any orders at this stage of the proceedings requiring those living there to immediately vacate the properties.

The court's order only applies to those already residing in the properties, and does not apply to any others who may attempt to move in, the judge added

The judge said that he was taking the fire safety notice issued by DCC into consideration.

Mr Justice Mulcahy also said that he hopes to hear the plaintiff's full injunction application before the courts adjourn for Christmas.

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