■ Court case over al­leged ‘lock­down par­ties’:

Lo­cals claim owner is fail­ing to con­trol noise at two of his prop­er­ties near UCC Judge ad­journs case un­til Tues­day to al­low col­league hear District Court ac­tion

The Irish Times - - Front Page - BARRY ROCHE South­ern Cor­re­spon­dent

A group of res­i­dents liv­ing near Univer­sity Col­lege Cork has be­gun le­gal ac­tion against a land­lord over what they al­lege is his fail­ure to con­trol noise at two of his prop­er­ties where they al­lege stu­dents are hold­ing Covid-19 “lock­down par­ties” into the early hours of the morn­ing.

Mem­bers of the Mag­a­zine Road and Sur­round­ing Ar­eas Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion have been cam­paign­ing for the past two months to get stu­dents to stop hold­ing par­ties where they al­lege up to 50 peo­ple have at­tended in con­tra­ven­tion of Gov­ern­ment guide­lines on Covid-19.

Yes­ter­day, two res­i­dents took a case to Cork District Court where they were seek­ing to bring pri­vate pros­e­cu­tions un­der the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency Act 1992 against a land­lord with two prop­er­ties in the area who they al­lege is al­low­ing breaches of noise lev­els.

Sadie O’Ma­hony, of High­field Av­enue, and Mairead O’Callaghan, of Con­naught Av­enue, both brought pri­vate pros­e­cu­tions against land­lord, Fachtna O’Reilly, of Model

Farm Road, Car­ri­gro­hane, in re­spect of sep­a­rate prop­er­ties.

Ms O’Ma­hony al­leges Mr O’Reilly is “the per­son mak­ing, caus­ing, or re­spon­si­ble for the fol­low­ing noise, namely loud mu­sic, per­sis­tent shout­ing and rowdy and ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour dur­ing the day, late into the night and into the early hours of the morn­ing” at 11 High­field Av­enue, Col­lege Road.

Ms O’Callaghan al­leges Mr O’Reilly is “the per­son mak­ing, caus­ing, or re­spon­si­ble for the fol­low­ing noise, namely loud mu­sic, per­sis­tent shout­ing and rowdy and ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour dur­ing the day, late into the night and into the early hours of the morn­ing” at 4 Dunedin, Con­naught Av­enue.

They both al­lege “the noise is so loud/so con­tin­u­ous/so re­peated or of such du­ra­tion or pitch/oc­cur­ring at such times as to give rea­son­able cause for an­noy­ance to the com­plainant, any per­son in any premises in the neigh­bour­hood or any per­son law­fully us­ing a pub­lic place”.

Yes­ter­day, be­fore so­lic­i­tor David McCoy could open the case for Ms O’Ma­hony and Ms

O’Callaghan, Judge Con O’Leary said he wanted to ex­plain to the two res­i­dents bring­ing the case that he once owned an apart­ment in the same area as a prop­erty owned by Mr O’Reilly.

“I don’t want some­one to say af­ter­wards that we [the judge and the land­lord] were friends,” said Judge O’Leary, adding that he no longer owned the prop­erty, but he be­lieved that it was best that he ad­journed the mat­ter for an­other judge to hear it, lest it be per­ceived he was not ob­jec­tive.

Or­der

So­lic­i­tor for Mr O’Reilly, Ea­monn Murray, sug­gested the case would be best dealt with by re­fer­ring it to the Pri­vate Res­i­den­tial Ten­an­cies Board (PRTB) rather than deal­ing with it un­der en­vi­ron­men­tal leg­is­la­tion and he asked Judge O’Leary to make an or­der to that ef­fect.

But Judge O’Leary said that it would not be ap­pro­pri­ate for him to make such an or­der, given he was re­cus­ing him­self from the case and it was an ap­pli­ca­tion Mr Murray could make be­fore Judge Olann Kelleher who would hear the case on Tues­day at the An­gle­sea Street Court­house.

Mr Murray ap­plied for a longer ad­journ­ment but Judge O’Leary said that he did not “live in a bub­ble” and was aware from pro­longed press cov­er­age of res­i­dents’ con­cerns about the is­sue and he was anx­ious the mat­ter be dealt with as quickly as pos­si­ble and he ad­journed it un­til Tues­day.

“There is an­other week­end to be gone through. In the mean­time, I can­not do any­thing about that,” the judge said to the res­i­dents as they left the court and he as­sured them that Judge Kelleher would hear the mat­ter on Tues­day as he knew none of the par­ties in­volved.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: CORK COURTS

Land­lord Fachtna O’Reilly at Cork District Court.

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