Court told men are 'occupying' Wexford town pub
A group of men are unlawfully occupying a well-known Wexford pub, the High Court has been told.
On Friday, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was informed that KBC bank-appointed receiver Ken Fennell took possession of the Wicked Swan Pub, the Faythe in Wexford at the end of July.
The pub, the court was told was owned by Desmond Whelan, and had been leased out to a company called Wicked Swan Ltd, of which it is alleged Mr Whelan is a director.
However, a few weeks later it is claimed several parties including the defendants unlawfully entered and took possession of the premises. They have remained in occupation of the pub, which it claimed they had no right to do.
As a result, Mr Fennell brought proceedings against Wicked Swan Ltd, Desmond Whelan, Bramble Heights, Mulgannon, and Corrado Forte, of Sandy Lane, Curracloe, who the court was told has purported to correspond with the receiver on behalf of the company.
Mr Justice Cross said he was prepared to put an injunction in place preventing the company, Mr Forte, and others who are aware of the order, from trespassing on the property, from trading at the premises, or from interfering with the receiver in the course of his duties pending the outcome of the legal dispute.
Those parties were also directed to hand over vacant possession to the receiver. None of the defendants were present in court, however, a representative on behalf of Mr Whelan asked the court for an adjournment so he can formally reply to the receiver's claims.
The Judge agreed to put back the receivers application against Mr Whelan to September 14.
Seeking the injunctions, barrister Alan Keating for the receiver said Mr Whelan was advanced a loan of €600,000 by KBC in 2008.
The pub was put up as security for the loan. After an event of default in respect of the loan occurred Mr Fennell was appointed in April of 2014 by KBC.
The premises had been operated as a public house under the terms of a lease that expired some years ago. Counsel said it had been suggested in correspondence the company was in occupation on foot of a subsequent lease.
This was rejected by both the bank, which never consented to any such agreement, or Mr Fennell, counsel said. After being satisfied that the company had no entitlement to occupy the property, Mr Keating said Mr Fennell took possession of the premises in late July, 2015.
Counsel said on August 20 the defendants and other individuals re-entered the premises, took possession and changed the locks, which they were not entitled to do. Mr Fennell is now seeking vacant possession of the property.
Counsel said because of the dispute between the parties the premises does not currently have a liquor licence and his client was concerned that the defendants may attempt to trade as a licenced premises.
The absence of such a licence could lead to difficulties in the future, he added.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Cross said he was satisfied to grant the injunction against Mr Forte and the company, although the terms of his order did not apply to Mr Whelan.
However, the Judge said he was continuing a temporary High Court order previously granted against Mr Whelan preventing him from trading at or operating a business at the premises until the matter returns before the court.
The Wicked Swan's doors were firmly closed on Monday and Mr Whelan was not answering his telephone. Local business people said they knew nothing about the claimed sit-in.