The owners of six apartments adjoining one of Ireland’s top hotels have had essential services cut off on multiple occasions in the course of a dispute that has rumbled on for over a year.
Water, gas and electricity have all been disconnected since the row began in the summer of 2020.
And now a number of shipping freight containers have been placed outside their properties in a bid to obstruct their access to them.
And in a bid to highlight what is happening the apartment owners have all painted their buildings bright pink!
However, allegations are flying in the other direction as well, as in response to a request for a comment the hotel, through a Dublin based firm of solicitors said in a statement, ‘ The queries posed in Your Email relate to a dispute between the Hotel and certain neighbouring property owners, who have, inter alia, wrongfully alleged that they are entitled to access the Hotel’s services.
‘All the allegations made against the Hotel by the neighbouring are completely baseless, have no merit whatsoever and as such are denied. The Hotel has made numerous complaints to the Gardaí regarding criminal damage to the Hotel’s property and harassment of the Hotel’s staff as well as the family of the owner of the Hotel.
‘The Hotel does not intend resolving any disputes through the media. The Hotel, therefore, does not intend responding to further requests for comment’.
The row has led to two separate investigations which are currently ongoing.
A Garda spokesperson has confirmed that they are investigating an alleged assault at the Johnstown Estate hotel, in Enfield county Meath, and Meath County Council have admitted they are looking into a suspected breach of their planning regulations in relation to the containers.
The hotel was purchased by Malahide based business man Barry English back in 2015 and it has 42 apartments on site, some of which it owns, but many of which are in private hands.
The crux of the matter appears to be that the hotel wants to buy back the privately owned apartments but at least six owners do not want to sell.
And since July last year there has been a series of incidents that has seen water, gas and electricity supplies have been disconnected, and after one of the residents, Dave Godwin, who is a plumber managed to reconnect the water someone disconnected it again and poured concrete over it and placed concrete bollards over the manhole to try and prevent it being turned back on.
In a dramatic video seen by Meath Live Godwin lies down in front of a man driving a teleporter and refuses to allow him leave until he removes the bollard he had just placed over where Godwins water supply is located.
Gardai from Enfield station then arrive to calm things down and hotel manager Anthony Smiddy also arrives and bizarrely blows a kiss at an amazed Godwin.
It was the cops second visit of the day as earlier another resident claimed he was struck by a staff member when he attempted to prevent him blocking his water connection.
A Garda spokesperson said, ‘Enfield Gardai are investigating an allegation of assault at Johnstown at 8.30 am on 15/6/2021, investigations are ongoing.’
Dave Godwin revealed, ‘ I bought my apartment in July 2020 as an investment, I paid €40k for it but others who bought in the boom paid over ten times that amount.
‘On a number of occasions covering various incidents we have all been able to establish proof of ownership to the satisfaction of the guards, so there is no dispute about that all of the six of us involved own the apartments.
‘The first time the water was disconnected we called in Irish Water and the hotel told them they turned it off because there was a leak, the emergency repair crew that attended could not find a leak.
‘I’m a plumber so I reconnected it but it was turned off again, I cannot say by who, and somebody poured about two metres of concrete down the drain to make it harder to reconnect.
‘The electric was cut off so we went out and bought our own generators to have a power supply and the latest thing that has happened is that someone or other placed containers around the six apartments to block light coming in and obstruct access.’
A Meath County Council spokeswoman said. ‘We are investigating this matter under planning enforcement legislation. As this is a live case we cannot comment further.’
Godwin continued, ‘We have had offers ranging from €40-55k but basically for some people it is their primary home and they just want to live there in peace and others just want to use their property for themselves when they feel like it.
‘There was an agreement in place with the original owners that we would be paid an annual rental fee so they could use the apartments but there was a clause in there which said if they missed any payment that agreement was dead, they did miss some so that agreement no longer exists.
‘What I would ask your readers to consider is this, if somebody feels they have a legal case against any of us why haven’t they initiated court proceedings, personally I’d welcome that, or does whoever is harassing us think they are above the law.
‘As I see it we have two options fight this in any way we can or lose our investment, and none of us can afford to do that.’
VIDEO LINK; https://www.facebook.com/gerry.hand/videos/222086776403495