Illegal sex cinema landlord fined

Landlord ordered to stop illegal use of premises

The landlord of an illegal adult sex cinema has been fined €1,000, ordered to pay costs of more than €1,500, and to adhere to a Galway City Council enforcement notice by ceasing unauthorised use of the premises within two months.

R Byrne Concrete Ltd with an address at Victoria Place, Eyre Square, owner of the property known as Jade Winters at Unit 3, Liosbaun Industrial Estate on Tuam Road, was brought to court by the Galway City Council for unauthorised lighted signage and unauthorised use of the premises as a public cinema.

At Galway District Court last Tuesday solicitor for the council, Mr Robert Meehan, explained that this case had been the subject of a previous application where the council was given the wrong identity of the owner and therefore the wrong party, John Kelleher, had been served. He said that an enforcement notice was issued and that R Byrne Concrete Ltd is putting together its own forfeiture notice to serve on the tenant. However, Mr Meehan said that the tenant, whose identity would not be disclosed, was an English company and that there were difficulties regarding jurisdiction.

“It [the cinema] has no planning permission to exist. The landlord only came out of the woodwork now. This has wasted court time and the wrong party was served,” said Judge Mary Fahy who stressed that R Byrne Concrete Ltd was not responsible for running the cinema but that as a landlord “could have acted more hastily to see that proceedings move on”.

Council official Paraic Flaherty gave evidence that he first served notice to R Byrne Concrete Ltd on June 4, 2008 and that he had carried out numerous inspections at Jade Winters. An inspection carried out on September 18, 2008, found that unauthorised signage had been installed to the front of the premises and that an adult cinema was located at the back. Mr Flaherty explained that there were two cinema screens, one a 12 seater and other a nine seater. There were also six single video booths showing adult films. Further inspections were carried out on December 9, 2008, and on January 5, 2009, and Mr Flaherty had found that there were no changes made.

Mr Meehan told Judge Fahy that he was looking for the maximum fine of €1,900 and that an order be made by the court for the landlord to comply with the terms of the enforcement notice. He said that R Byrne Concrete Ltd is yet to get the tenant out of the premises as the company is not able to enforce a notice to companies based in Great Britain.

Judge Fahy said that the initial order was made in June and therefore the landlord knew that the tenant was in total contravention of the terms.

“I find it all a bit disconcerting to put it mildly. From June to January the papers [forfeiture notice] have only been drafted now. I’m making the order for the landlord to address this, they have to do something,” she said.

R Byrne Concrete Ltd was then convicted and fined €1,000 with one month to pay and an order was made for the cessation of unauthorised use of the premises and that the terms of the enforcement notice be complied with. It was also ordered to pay administration costs of €300 and legal costs of €1,250 with one month to pay.

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