Cork City Council -v- Burke & Anor, [2005] IEHC 282 (2005)

Docket Number:2005 2143 P
Party Name:Cork City Council, Burke & Anor
Judge:Peart J.


Record Number: 2005 No. 2143P


Cork City Council



Liam Burke and Marian Burke


Judgment of Mr Justice Michael Peart delivered on the 15th day of August 2005:

The plaintiffs are the owners of a substantial and old dwelling house known as Ringmahon House, situated in Mahon, Cork. There are substantial grounds also at these premises as well as a garage and outhouses.

The first named defendant has been in the employment of the plaintiff since 1974 in the Parks Department, and has been in occupation of what is referred to as "the West Wing" of Ringmahon House since about July 1976 under and by virtue of a Caretaker's Agreement dated 29th July 1976. The second named defendant is the wife of the first named defendant. I shall for convenience refer to them simply as "the defendant" since there is no distinction between the two defendants as far as the claims made herein are concerned. The defendant is a salaried employee of the plaintiff in addition to the benefit of his use of the premises referred to, and his duties are not and have never been confined to looking after the house and grounds at Ringmahon House. He has other work in various parks in the area.

By that agreement the defendant acknowledged that he was in possession of the West Wing and the grounds as a caretaker only, and under no contract of tenancy. He also undertook to vacate the premises "whenever required to do so" by the plaintiff, and he further acknowledged his duty to maintain the grounds attached to the house to the satisfaction of the plaintiff, to maintain the public grounds and open spaces as required, and the plaintiff's permission to him to use the walled-in garden for the growing of vegetables for his own use only.

The first named defendant and his wife have dwelt in the West Wing now for twenty nine years, but are now required to vacate the premises by the plaintiff because the plaintiff wishes to carry out very major redevelopment of the premises and the grounds attached so that some sheltered accommodation for elderly people can be provided urgently.

The plaintiff maintains that over the past couple of years the defendant has been well aware of the plaintiff's intentions and plans because there has been a protracted negotiations process taking place over that time in order to reach an agreement with the defendant whereby the defendant would vacate and the plaintiff would provide him with a package of assistance to enable him to accommodate himself elsewhere. These negotiations have not yielded fruit according to the plaintiff, and it has now decided to exercise its legal rights so that it can achieve vacant possession of the premises so that the necessary and urgent works can be carried out. To this end the plaintiff served a 7 day notice by letter dated 17th June 2005 requiring possession in the event that the defendant did not accept any one of four alternative offers regarding alternative accommodation set forth in that letter.

The defendant is not happy to accept any of the said proposals, and says that he would require more detail in relation to these. The plaintiff maintains that it has put...

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