Source: RTE News
A district court judge has said he will issue an order in a week in relation to an 80-year old landlord who he found was responsible for noise from student parties during lockdown at two of his rented houses.
Judge Olann Kelleher warned Fachtna O’Reilly of Model Farm Road, Carrigrohane, in Cork, that it was up to him to take steps to control the nuisance at the houses, known as “Covid Party House” and “Party Central”.
Residents complained to the judge that they are heading into their seventh weekend without sleep.
The streets around University College Cork are attractive to students because they offer proximity to the college.
House parties there are an ongoing problem for long-term residents. They described the problem during lockdown as “terrible”.
Mairead O’Callaghan has lived for 22 years at Connaught Avenue in Cork, four doors away from a house with eight tenants owned by Mr O’Reilly.
Today, she told Cork District Court that house was known as “Party Central” and was like a railway station, with the number of people coming and going.
Breaking down, she said Mr O’Reilly’s house has continuous parties and she cannot get to sleep until all hours. She said complaints have not been addressed.
Sadie O’Mahony has lived on Highfield Avenue off College Road in Cork for 36 years. She said Mr O’Reilly’s rented house, directly opposite, is known as the “Covid Party House”.
She said over the years Mr O’Reilly’s house was the worst on the avenue for parties, with the last couple of months being particularly bad.
Residents’ Association Chairwoman Catherine Clancy said more than 100 students had been counted coming from one house when a party was stopped and the house was emptied during lockdown.
She said residents were heading into their seventh weekend without sleep, adding that they were concerned and exhausted.
Mr O’Reilly was not going to give evidence in the case, but there was “a change of plan”, his solicitor Eamon Murray said.
Mr O’Reilly said he did not recognise himself as the person being complained of in court. He said he had five rental properties in the College Road area of Cork.
He said, as long as calls are not “abusive”, he deals with complaints about tenants, but he accepted he had not served notice to quit in relation to the properties at the centre of this case.
Mr O’Reilly said it had taken him 14 months to evict a drug addict out of a house and he had issued warnings in these cases because the tenants would be gone by the end of August.
He said the houses would normally be vacant at this time, but there was a “big demand” during the Covid-19 lockdown because students could not get into America.
“It’s in my interest to run a good ship, to keep my houses in order and to get my rent on time,” Mr O’Reilly told Judge Kelleher.
The residents brought their action under the Environmental Protection Agency Act 1992, complaining that the noise gave reasonable cause for annoyance to them and to others living in the area.
Judge Kelleher said he accepted their evidence. He said they had proven their case and had endured a “terrible” time.
The residents are asking Judge Kelleher to make an order against Mr O’Reilly in relation to the noise.
Judge Kelleher said he will make the order. He said he will reveal the terms of the order next Friday and he will be influenced by the steps Mr O’Reilly takes in the meantime.
He said he could not direct Mr O’Reilly to service notices to quit on the tenants, but he said Mr O’Reilly could consider doing this with his solicitor.
“I am accepting the evidence of the witnesses about the terrible time they have had. I accept the evidence of these people, who are moving on in years. It is very sad to hear people cannot sleep at night,” Judge Kelleher said.
“He (Fachtna O’Reilly) says it is not his problem, it’s the students. He has turned a blind eye. He hasn’t much interest in the residents of the area, as far as I can see.
“He seems to answer all questions in a similar way, that the students have rights. But people living in the area have rights.”
Judge Kelleher said it was up to Mr O’Reilly to “make all the running” to resolve the situation.
The case will resume next Friday.