At Castlebar District Court this week it was heard that a section of land which is adjacent to the Royal Theatre, which is used by patrons to access the hotel, is in fact in private ownership and was never owned by Diorama Ltd—the director of which is Pat Jennings—which have been taken over by receivers. It was found that this piece of land is not therefore in control of the receivers.
The question of the ownership of this land which runs from the main road to the entrance of the theatre, was raised during two objections to the renewal of the Royal Theatre’s annual dance licence; this renewal application had been adjourned on a number of occasions.
Solicitor John Geary represented one objector, Seamus Sutcliffe from the Harlequin Centre Management Company Ltd, who was not present in court. Solicitor Tracey Murray represented the second objector, Matty Neary, who was in court. The receivers Barry Donohue and Kieran Wallace were represented by John Morahan.
Mr Neary told the court that he had health and safety concerns after he saw the main entrance to the ballroom being blocked by barriers on December 11 2012. He said that he wanted to know who actually owns this land as the site in question does not belong to the people running the TF.
The court heard that in 1996 Castlebar Urban District Council, as it was known at the time, disposed this land to Anthony Gaughan. The deed was stamped, however the site was never registered. On December 12 2012 the land was transferred from Anthony Gaughan to the Harlequin Centre Management Company Ltd. However, as of yet the deed has not been stamped.
Mr Geary said that the land was never the registered property of Diorama Ltd and therefore is not owned by the receivers.
Judge Mary Devins asked how do patrons get access to the private property and was told by Mr Geary that at the moment his client has no right of way objections and has been very co-operative with the receiver.
Judge Devins said that the objector has correctly brought to the attention of the licensing court that the access to the property is not within the ownership of the applicant who is applying for the renewal of the licence. Judge Devins said that this land “was certainly not owned by Diorama Ltd, so certainly not owned by the receiver.” The judge said to Mr Morahan, who represented the receivers, that “the ownership of this very, very important piece of land is not with your client” and there is no evidence before the court which permits your client access for patrons entrance of the property.
Judge Devins asked the former owner of the TF, Pat Jennings, who was in court, if he ever tried to buy this land from the UDC which he said he didn’t, but said that he did try to buy the land from Mr Gaughan.
The ownership of the land “certainly is a key issue” and the judge said that the court needs to know what arrangement there is between Mr Sutcliffe and the receiver. “If there isn’t such, then the application will have to go.” The case was adjourned to April 17.