HomeBussinessDeveloper sues Johnny Ronan companies over €35m office site

Developer sues Johnny Ronan companies over €35m office site


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Developer Johnny Ronan

The High Court has granted permission to a development firm to serve at short-notice proceedings on companies in the Johnny Ronan group in a dispute over the development of a €35m office building in Cherrywood, south Dublin.

DLR Properties Ltd has brought proceedings against RGRE Devco 4 Ltd (RGRE 4) and Ronan Group Real Estate Ltd, seeking declarations that a development agreement between the parties was validly terminated as a result of breaches by the defendants.

DLR also seeks damages and an injunction directing the removal of statements from the Ronan Group website which state or imply the defendants have any legal or equitable title or interest in the planned office site. It also seeks corrections and prohibitions on further such publications along with damages for defamation.

On Friday, Mr Justice Garrett Simons granted short service of the proceedings on the defendants following a one-side only represented application. The judge made them returnable to next week.

He also gave liberty to DLR to issue proceedings seeking that the matter go to arbitration.

The planned office site is 1.3 acres of an overall 13.3-acre site in Cherrywood, Loughlinstown, 12 acres of which are zoned for town centre development.

DLR says it entered into an agreement in May 2019 in which DLR would transfer the 12 acres to RGRE 4 in return for which that defendant was required to construct on the remaining 1.3 acres a 145,000sq ft office building at a cost (in 2019) of more than €35m.

In an affidavit, DLR chief executive Conor Dalton said RGRE 4 failed to take the necessary steps towards constructing the building, thus breaching its obligations under the development agreement. Despite warning notices, the defendant provided no confirmation of its intention to begin construction, he said.

Of urgent concern to DLR are incidents of trespass and defamation, and slander of title that have been committed by, or on behalf of, the defendants since the termination of the agreement, he said.

However, Mr Justice Simons said he had a concern about this application particularly in circumstances where the case comes back next week, where the Ronan Group has made statements on its website and where there was likely to be publicity about the case. There would be no prejudice in declining that relief at this stage, he said.

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