High Court injunction sought to end salon occupation
An interim injunction is being sought in the High Court today (Tuesday) in a bid to end a protest which has closed a hairdressing salon in Wexford since last week.
The building which houses Brash in South Main Street went into receivership 18 months ago and was occupied early last Thursday morning by John Byrne who claims his wife Peggy is still the legal owner of the premises.
The retired metal work teacher gained entry to the salon and removed fittings, including wash basins, wall cabinets, mirrors, furniture and stock, which have been placed in commercial storage.
The salon owner Ray Doyle who signed a 30-year lease on the premises six years ago was prevented from opening his business as Mr. Byrne locked himself inside the building and draped sheets of paper on the windows.
Mr. Byrne was joined inside the salon over the weekend by members of his family including his wife Peggy and by a number of friends and supporters.
Mr. Doyle who employs eight staff, camped outside on the street in his car to prevent more equipment and stock being removed from the building.
He is awaiting the outcome of a legal bid by representatives of the receiver Shane McCarthy of Dublin who made an application in the High Court yesterday for an interim injunction directing Mr. Byrne to end his occupation of the premises.
The application was part heard and was adjourned to today to allow the receiver to produce additional documentation for the Judge.
ACC bank appointed Mr. McCarthy as receiver to that property and to an adjoining shop in 2015.
The building which houses Brash hairdressing salon was formerly a public toilet and was purchased by Mrs. Byrne from the Borough Council in 1999. A sum of €560,000 was originally borrowed from ACC to rebuild the three-storey premises.
Mr. Byrne is disputing the bank's right to appoint a receiver to the property and to the adjoining premises also owned by Mrs. Byrne and said he and his wife have a plenary summons before the High Court since November 2015.
In an earlier protest, Mr. Byrne boarded up the salon on the Saturday of the bank holiday weekend and tied himself to the front door but gardai gave Mr. Doyle the go-ahead to open a side entrance with an angle grinder and to continue his business, after viewing proof of the receiver's appointment.
At the time Mr Byrne said 'I'm protecting my property. I will fight it until the day I go down in the grave because fair is fair.'
'I'm stuck in the middle of this,' said Ray Doyle.
'When I took over the premises it was a raw shell. It cost me €140,000 to put the salon together. 'I reckon it's going to cost me €20,000 at least to put the place back in order.'
Mr. Doyle has continued to pay his staff even though the premises was unable to open. 'The staff have to be paid. They have childen and that,' he said.
Members of staff arrived at the salon at 8.30 am last Thursday morning but were unable to get in as Mr. Byrne and a group of supporters had locked themselves into the premises a few hours earlier and had removed items of furniture and equipment including chairs.
Mr. Doyle ordered new chairs on Thursday and had them transported from Dublin in order to be ready to open again if he regained possession.
'It's not a pleasant situation,' said Mr. Byrne speaking by telephone from inside the premises. 'There are no winners in this situation. I'm going to stay as long as it takes. We are the owners. We have possession. Anyone who tries to come in now is breaking and entering.'
He said ACC Bank didn't re-possess the building and his wife's name is still on the deeds. 'It wasn't a repossession. There was a mortgage. That's money. That has to be dealt with. We want to deal with it.'
'I'm going to occupy the building for as long as it takes to get this thing settled. We want to do things as amicably as possible.'
Mr. Byrne said he attempted to serve a document on Mr. Doyle, informing him that he would get his goods on payment of rent and rates.
Mr. Doyle said he is leasing the premises from the receiver and has paid all rents due to Mr. Carthy with whom he has an 'excellent relationship'.
Wexford gardai have been monitoring the situation and have been in regular contact with Mr. Doyle and Mr. Byrne.