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Children at childcare centre may have to be relocated following picket protest by builder

A Circuit Court judge today granted a restraining order against Dublin builder Colm Brady on foot of the protests

ballymakenny Ballymakenny, Co Louth Source: Google Maps

CHILDREN IN THE care of the HSE at The Haven Childcare Centre at Ballymakenny, Co Louth, may have to be relocated because of a picket protest by a Co Dublin builder, a judge heard today.

Barrister Aaron Shearer told Judge Sinead Ní Chulachain in the Circuit Civil Court that Colm Brady, of Scholars Walk, Lusk, Co Dublin, had almost daily since mid-January been mounting unlawful picket protests at the home.

He said Brady claimed he had not been fully paid for work he had carried out at the home of Rose Bentley, owner of The Haven Childcare Centre home at Ballymakenny and another childrens’ home in Collon, Co Louth.

Ms Bentley, of Copse Edge, Daly’s Cross, Collon, said in an affidavit that Brady had been picketing the Ballymakenny home. “His conduct threatens to have a serious and detrimental impact on the business interests of The Haven Childcare Centre Limited, which owns both homes,” she said.

Protests

She said the second home at Rock House, Donore, Co Louth, had not yet been the subject of any protests.

Mr Shearer said Ms Bentley’s company employed 27 staff, 16 on a full-time basis, between the two childrens’ homes. Tusla paid a weekly sum in respect of the housing and care of each child housed in the homes and it was this money that paid staff and defrayed other business expenses.

“Ms Bentley’s company is acutely aware that any threat to the welfare of the children may result in their immediate removal from the care of The Haven Childcare Centre,” Mr Shearer said.

The court heard that Brady had in 2008 carried out works allegedly “to a poor standard” at Ms Bentley’s private home at Copse Edge and a third party had to be engaged to complete and repair the work.

Ms Bentley said there was a dispute about what money was owed to Mr Brady. She had paid him €20,000 and Brady was now claiming an additional €7,000 is outstanding.

Brady had protested and picketed at Ballymakenny with signs stating “Wealthy business owner: Pay your builder”, and “Pay what you owe”. The Ballymakenny property was not the site on which work had been carried out by Brady.

Judge Ni Chulachain said Brady had been unlawfully interfering with Ms Bentley’s business interests and “having regard in particular to the children” and the employees she granted an injunction restraining him or his agents from picketing at or near any of Ms Bentley’s or her company’s properties.

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Ray Managh

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