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Ronan group seeking €747k in alleged rent arrears from Bewley's

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The iconic Bewley’s Cafe on Grafton Street

The iconic Bewley’s Cafe on Grafton Street

The iconic Bewley’s Cafe on Grafton Street

A company controlled by developer Johnny Ronan has launched legal action against Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street.

RGRE Grafton Ltd, the cafe's landlord, is seeking alleged rental arrears of €747,000 and possession of the property.

The landlord wants its action against the cafe operator, Bewley's Cafe Grafton Street Ltd, admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court.

Urgent

The matter was briefly mentioned before Mr Justice David Barniville yesterday, when in an ex-parte (one side only represented) application by RGRE for permission to have the case listed for entry to the commercial list early next week.

Ross Awlyard BL, for the landlord, said the matter was urgent from his client's perspective.

He said his client was the successor in title of the premises, which has been leased to the defendants since 1987.

Mr Awlyard said the annual rent due on the iconic premises was around €1.4m, which had to be paid on a quarterly basis.

Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in the closure of many businesses, the defendant asked for a rent holiday of six months, he said.

While his client considered that, and other similar rent holiday requests for other tenants of firms within the group, the Bewley's application was declined as it believed that the tenant had the means to discharge its rent obligations.

Counsel said that one of the reasons the request was refused was because the tenant's parent company, Bewley's Ltd, which it claims is owned by the family of businessman Patrick Campbell, was sitting on cash reserves of more than €6m and net assets of €5m.

RGRE was made aware of the tenant's intention to permanently close the cafe, and make all the staff redundant, through statements in a newspaper.

The cafe did not reopen after restrictions on businesses were lifted late last month, he said.

Since late April the defendant had not engaged in any meaningful way with RGRE.

As a result that rent, plus interest, totalling some €747,000, is due and the landlord does not have possession of the property.

Mr Awlyard said his client has obligations to other third parties.

The judge gave the landlord permission to seek to have the action admitted to the commercial court list. The application will be heard next Monday.