Limerick students can return to rented accommodation following court ruling

Aodhan O Faolain


Aodhan O Faolain

The  students are to be allowed back into the house they have been renting following a ruling by a  High Court judge

The students are to be allowed back into the house they have been renting following a ruling by a High Court judge

FOUR Limerick based students are to be allowed back into the house they have been renting following a ruling by a  High Court judge.  

The students can return after Ms Justice Marie Baker extended an injunction directing the property owner Mrs Sinead O’Connor to hand over possession of a house located at Lifford Park, South Circular Road to a bank appointed receiver. 

The Judge made the order on Thursday after being informed the students spent the previous two nights in a hotel after Mrs O’Connor allegedly told them to leave.

The students, the Judge noted, are caught up in a dispute between Mrs O’Connor and Mr Karl O’Neill of KPMG, who was appointed receiver of the house by AIB in 2016. 

Mrs O’Connor contests the validity of the receiver’s appointment.

Previously Mr O'Neill’s lawyers secured a temporary court order requiring Mrs O’Connor and any others with knowledge of the order to hand over possession of the house.  

It is claimed Mrs O’Connor arrived at the house last Monday and informed the students that unless they paid her rent and signed a document stating they would not have any dealings in relation to the house with anyone other than her.

The students, who had agreed to pay rent to the receiver, said while they were prepared to pay her rent, they were not comfortable with signing the document. 

She allegedly arrived with a sleeping bag accompanied with other persons who remained downstairs in the property until 12.30am on Tuesday morning.  

It was claimed the students were also told other people would be arriving at the house and they were “working out a rota” for people to stay there for the next few weeks. 

When the matter returned before the court on Thursday John Kennedy Bl, appearing with Sean Neville of Byrne Wallace solicitors for Mr O’Neill, said the students were upset and distressed by what had happened. 

They had left the premises and were put up at a hotel since Tuesday at the expense of the receiver, counsel said. 

Counsel said it was also their case the order was not being complied with by Mrs O'Connor and other unknown persons remained at the property. 

In reply Ms O’Connor, from Tullig, Castleisland Co Kerry, said the order against her should be set aside on grounds including that the receiver was not validly appointed. 

Representing herself, she said nobody was currently at the house, and added that she had arrived there with her sleeping bag in order to vindicate her constitutional rights. 

She said the students, who she had a good relationship with, were “laughing and joking” when they left the house on Tuesday afternoon. 

Following an exchange with the judge she accepted the students were, as tenants, entitled to regain possession of her property.  

Mrs O’Connor’s claims were disputed by Mr Kennedy.

In her ruling the Judge, who welcomed Mrs O’Connor’s concession that the students were entitled to return back to the house, said she was satisfied from the evidence before the court that Mr O'Neill's appointment was valid.

That finding the judge said was subject to what another judge may decide at the full hearing of the dispute. 

The Judge, in adjourning the matter for a month, said that rent from the property should be paid into an account and kept in trust for whichever party is successful at the full hearing.