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Dublin: 1°C Monday 17 January 2022

Pete Taylor seeks injunction to stop council evicting boxing club from premises

The claim was brought after the council allegedly changed the locks on the premises in June 2018 after a shooting.

Pete Taylor, at The National Stadium in 2012.
Pete Taylor, at The National Stadium in 2012.
Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

WELL-KNOWN BOXING coach Pete Taylor is seeking a High Court injunction preventing Wicklow County Council from evicting him and Bray Boxing Club from the premises it has used for 15 years.

Taylor, who is the father of Olympic and World Champion boxer Katie Taylor, claims the council is wrongfully trying to remove him and the club from a facility located at the Harbour Shed, Bray, Co Wicklow.

Represented by Richard Kean SC, with Gareth Robinson Bl instructed by solicitor Georgina Robinson, Taylor and the club have brought proceedings against Wicklow County Council, which owns the facility.

The claim was brought after the council allegedly changed the locks on the premises in June 2018 after three people, including Taylor, were shot at the gym.

One of those shot, Bobby Messett, was killed in the incident.

Taylor, the club and its members have been out of the facility since then.

At the High Court today, Kean said in 2005 Taylor secured the use of the premises, which had been used as a store shed by the local authority, for use as a boxing gym.

When it was taken over the premises lacked basic facilities. Over the years, the club has produced some top boxers including Katie Taylor, and enhanced and equipped the facility with the help of a sports capital grant.

In a sworn statement to the court, Taylor said in 2017 the council sought a large increase the annual rent it charged for the premises, which he thought was unfair given the facilities benefit to the local community.

In June 2018, Taylor said a violent incident occurred at the premises when a club member was shot and killed, another injured and he was shot in the arm.

The court heard that Taylor was “the innocent victim of a violent incident”. A few days later it is claimed that without prior warning the council changed the locks at the premises.

It is claimed that the council informed the club that it proposed to take possession of it and have it cleaned, fixed and restored for use as a sports’ facility.

Taylor claims that the council used that violent incident as a “smokescreen to unlawfully evict” him and the club from the premises.

He says that it was always his intention to return and operate the club as previously and the council was not entitled to re-take the property in the manner in which it has done for many years.

Despite attempts to resolve matters, the plaintiffs say they have been unable to re-gain entry to the property and several club members have had to make alternative arrangements.

Arising out of the council’s alleged actions Taylor and the club, of which he is a director sued the council.

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Those proceedings are on-going and are due before the High Court later this month where his clients seeking judgement against the council in default over its alleged failure filing a defence to the claim.

Earlier this month, Taylor said he discovered that the council had posted an eviction notice outside the premises giving the club and Taylor 10 days to vacate the premises.

Taylor added in his statement that by serving the eviction notice the council is trying to circumvent and interfere with the ongoing legal action.

At the court, Kean said the club would not be able to source an alternative venue to store its equipment, which remains in the premises, during the Level 5 lockdown.

As a result, Taylor and the club seek an injunction preventing the council from terminating their legal interests in the club in the absence of a properly obtained court order.

The plaintiffs further seek an order from the court allowing them to re-enter the premises as well as declarations that the council is prevented from illegally evicting Mr Taylor and the club from the gym.

The matter came before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds who, following an ex-parte application, granted the plaintiffs permission to serve short notice of the injunction application on the council.

The matter will return before the court later this month

About the author:

Aodhan O Faolain

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