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Man and niece must leave apartment immediately, court rules

The former owner of an apartment who allegedly threatened to set his dog on any representative of the new owners who tried to gain entry must immediately vacate the property, the High Court has ruled.

Ms Justice Mary Rose Gearty said DavyPlatform ICAV, an asset management umbrella fund established to provide social housing to local authorities, was entitled to an injunction against Gerard O'Sullivan, who is former owner of the apartment located at Rosebank Place, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.

The judge also made orders against Ms Fiona O'Brien, who is a niece of Mr O'Sullivan. It was claimed she had been residing at the apartment on foot of a lease granted to her by Geard O'Sullivan.

The fund the judge said owns the apartment, and Gerard O'Sullivan and Fiona O'Brien "must vacate it immediately".

It was "beyond the power of the court" to permit the respondents to continue to remain in the property, the judge added. The injunction is to remain in place pending any full hearing of the dispute.

The fund, represented by Michael O'Sullivan Bl, said it is the legal registered owner of the apartment, and the respondents had no right to be on the property and were trespassers.

In April the fund discovered that the respondents had entered the property and had changed the locks.

Counsel said it purchased the property from a fund Promontoria Oyster DAC for €173,000 in October 2018. It wants to refurbish the property so it can be used by South Dublin Co Council for its housing needs.

Arising out of their failure to vacate the property the fund sought orders requiring the defendants to vacate the property, and cease trespassing or interfering with the apartment.

Representing himself Gerard O'Sullivan, with an address at Kennelsfort Road Upper in Dublin, claims he is the owner of the two-bedroomed property, and denied being a trespasser.

He also claimed the property, which he and his wife had acquired in 2006 had been allegedly fraudulently transferred out of their names. He accepted the fund could not have known about this alleged fraud.

Ms O'Brien did not appear in court, nor was she legally represented at any stage of the proceedings.

In her ruling the judge said that Gerard O'Sullivan and his niece have no quarrel with the fund.

If Mr O'Sullivan had any issue in regards to the apartment it was with the entity that purported to sell the property to Davy Platform ICAV. However the judge added that no evidence supporting Gerard O'Sullivan's claim of a fraud was put before the court.

The judge said that Gerard O'Sullivan had instead of taking proceedings against the party he claims had defrauded him, had instead gained access to the property without the owner's consent or knowledge.

He had also "threatened to set his German Shepherd dog on anyone who seeks to gain entry to the apartment on the applicant's behalf," the judge said, adding that the respondents have no defence to the action.

The orders sought by the fund she said were necessary not only for it, but to reassure any renter or home-owner that they will "not be disturbed or uprooted by a disaffected former owner who either in ignorance of their rights, or deliberately for gain, seeks to bully their way back into the building."

The judge also ordered that the respondents pay the fund's legal costs.

The judge said the law on property rights was so clear that it was not credible that the respondents did not know they had no right to be on the property.