Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Builder claims he is being prevented from doing remedial works on Clonmel estate - The Irish Times

A BUILDER has claimed before the High Court he is being prevented from carrying out remedial works at an allegedly unsafe and unfinished section of a housing estate in Co Tipperary.

Crohan O’Shea and O’Shea Homes, of which he is a director, claim they have the support of residents of Ard Na Sidhe, Cashel Road, Clonmel, to carry out works, but the site owners had indicated they would refuse access.

They have brought proceedings against brothers Michael Butler, Glenbrook, Old Spa Road, Clonmel and William Butler, Ballytersna, Cashel, Co Tipperary, and Bosod, the firm which developed the estate of 113 houses.

Hugh O’Flaherty, for the plaintiffs, told Ms Justice Mary Laffoy yesterday his clients wanted injunctions which would allow them enter the estate to carry out works.

The court heard Clonmel Town Council has issued enforcement proceedings against O’Shea Homes arising from its providing a bond when it was involved in the early stages of the development.

Counsel said his clients want to make the estate safe for residents and children and, if the bond was called in, it would cause unquantifiable damage to Mr O’Shea’s reputation as a businessman, and affect his ability to source credit.

Ms Justice Laffoy has adjourned the injunction application to next week.

In an affidavit, Mr O’Shea, of Summer Hill, Marino Avenue West, Killiney, Co Dublin, said he and his company became involved in a partnership with the Butlers and another party to build 113 houses at the Clonmel estate.

Bosod was set up as the development vehicle for the project, and that company was granted a licence by the Butlers to build houses on the site, he said. Under the agreement, the Butlers acknowledged they held the ownership of the land in trust for themselves and the other partners, including Mr O’Shea, he said.

O’Shea Homes had also entered into a bond for €287,000 with Clonmel Borough Council.

O’Shea Homes managed the first nine months of the contract, Mr O’Shea said, while the Butlers carried out works on the site. After that period, the Butlers took over the running of the site, he said.

He found the Butlers unreasonable and difficult to deal with, and legal proceedings later began in 2006.

As part of a settlement of those proceedings, he had resigned from Bosod and transferred his shareholding to the Butlers, he said.

However, he was still owed €650,000 by them, and the bond originally entered into remained in place. While 98 of the 113 dwellings were occupied, about seven remain to be completed.

The site is in a poor state, presents a safety hazard to the residents and would cost about €400,000 to clean up, he said.

The Butlers were fully aware of that, but Bosod had failed to carry out any remedial works in the estate in recent years, he said.

O’Shea Homes was prepared to enter the estate and had the support of the local council and residents to do so.

However, solicitors for the defendants had indicated they were not prepared to allow O’Shea Homes enter the site to carry out the works, he said.

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