Monday 18 January 2010

Court hears of Docklands theatre dispute

A dispute related to the development of the new Grand Canal Theatre in Dublin’s docklands will not affect the opening of the theatre in March, the Commercial Court was told today.

Ramford Ltd, a company controlled by developer Joseph O’Reilly, has brought proccoeedings arising from an agreement of June 29th 2007 between his company and O2 co-owner, Harry Crosbie, to develop the 2,000 seat theatre.

Mr Crosbie owns the lease of the theatre at Grand Canal Square, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, which is due to open on St Patrick’s Day.

Under the June 2007 agreement, Ramford claims it was to design and construct the theatre and to ensure that various theatre works were designed, carried out and completed.

It claims Mr Crosbie undertook to furnish a contract sum of €10 million on the completion date and also to discharge additional amounts paid by Ramford for the purchase and installation of fixtures, fittings and equipment (FF&E).

It is claimed it was agreed, if the direct and vouched costs of the FF&E exceeded €6.5 million, Mr Crosbie would pay the additional amount within 10 working days from receipt of the relevant invoices provided the FF&E were installed in accordance with the agreement.

It is also claimed, should any dispute arise, the agreement provided for that to be referred to an independent professional for determination.

Ramford claims it had spent some €9.4 million on FF&E by July 2009 when a dispute arose between the sides as to liability for some €2.9 million of that amount.

Ramford claims it then sought to have that matter dealt with by an independent professional, as provided for in the agreement, but Mr Crosbie had maintained the matters in dispute were not appropriate for determination by the independent professional.

Mr Crosbie also asked Ramford not to nominate an independent professional unless it had a declaratory order to that effect from the High Court.

The President of the Law Society, on the application of Ramford, had on December 15th last, nominated John Gore-Grines as the independent expert but on December 23rd solicitors for Mr Crosbie said they did not accept that nomination.

Lyndon MacCann SC, for Mr Crosbie, said today his client took issue with several of the claims made by Ramford but the dispute would not affect the opening of the theatre in March next. Mr Justice Peter Kelly, on consent of Mr Crosbie, transferred the proceedings to the Commercial Court.

Irish Times

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