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Artist is told to pay €18,000 he owes to publisher of prints

artist Gerard Byrne has been told by a judge to pay a publisher an eight-year-old debt of €18,387 for printing more than 300 special editions of some of his paintings.

Mr Byrne (56), of Eagle Terrace, Sorrento Road, Dalkey, whose works adorn the walls of Irish embassies around the world, had denied in the Circuit Civil Court he owed the money to Stoney Road Press, Dublin 3.

Barrister Vincent Nolan, for the firm, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that Mr Byrne agreed to pay Stoney Road Press for 330 prints of 11 of his works that had been printed in 2006 just before the economic collapse.

Stoney Road Press director David O'Donoghue said Mr Byrne made the agreement in October 2005 for 30 prints of each of 11 specified artworks.

He said Mr Byrne had agreed to pay €60 plus VAT for each of the prints - a total of €22,473.

Mr O'Donoghue said 60 of the prints were sold to the Shelbourne Hotel by Dalkey Arts and his firm was paid just over €4,000.

He told Mr Nolan that in 2008 another 60 of the prints for which the company had not been paid had been provided to Mr Byrne. In March 2006 the company had invoiced him for just over €22,000 and €18,387 remained unpaid.

Mr O'Donoghue said the company had retained possession of 210 signed copies pending payment.

pressurised

Mr Byrne said he had no firm recollection of receiving a demand for payment from Gartlan Winters, solicitors for Stoney Road Press, as the letter had been addressed to Sorrento Road and not Eagle Terrace, Sorrento Road.

He told the court he had been approached by Mr O'Donoghue about producing the prints which he had been assured at the time would "fly out the doors" of art galleries.

Sale of the prints had never taken off because of the recession which had seen the closure of a number of art galleries.

Mr Byrne said he would never have agreed to write a cheque for more than €20,000 for prints he did not even have room to store because he was between homes at the time.

"I was assured they would sell and I was pressurised into signing them," he said.

"I was shocked when I walked into a room and saw hundreds of prints. There were four or five people standing around with sharpened pencils so I signed them."

Judge Linnane said she was satisfied there was an agreement as claimed by Mr O'Donoghue on behalf of the company.

"I award Stoney Road Press a decree for €18,387 together with its legal costs," she said.

hnews@herald.ie


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