Johnstown Estate hotel

Court restrains the use of siren and airhorns being used near well-known hotel and wedding venue

The owner and operator of a well-known Co Meath hotel and wedding venue have claimed before the High Court that its business is being severely and deliberately disputed by a neighbour using a siren or an airhorn during the night.

As a result, Lefgem Limited, and Wave Prime Limited which are the owners and operators of the Four-Star Johnstown Estate hotel have secured a temporary High Court injunction restraining three persons who claim they are the owner of three luxury holiday lodges located near the hotel, from generating loud noise near the venue.

The plaintiff companies, which are entities of businessman Barry English and employ over 300 people, claims that the hotel's business has been severely disputed by the generation of the loud noises from the siren, which the court heard has been set to go off for several hours at nighttime.

The disruption, it is claimed, is part of an ongoing dispute between the plaintiffs and the three defendants, David Godwin of Boroimhe Ash, Swords, Co Dublin, Peter Wilson C/o Lodge 416, The Johnson Estate, Enfield Co Meath and Martin Kennedy Lorcan Villas, Santry Dublin 9.

At the High Court on Friday Bernard Dunleavy SC for the plaintiffs said his clients acquired the hotel from a receiver in 2015.

Counsel said that lodges, divided into 40 units, were built near the hotel as part of the overall development at Johnstown.

Counsel said that his clients acquired over 30 of the lodges, which are used to accommodate guests and employees.

However, some of the lodges were acquired by other parties.

The three defendants, the court heard, claim they each bought one of the other lodges in online auctions.

Counsel said that it is his clients' case that had no legal obligation to continue to supply electricity and water to any of the lodges not owned by the hotel and they cut off water and electricity supply.

The plaintiffs claim that the lodges do not connect directly into services provided by the local council.

Counsel said that this resulted in a series of events between his clients and the defendants.

The most recent development in the dispute, which resulted in his client seeking orders from the court, commenced early this year when it is alleged that on several occasions Mr Godwin set-off an airhorn late at night.

Commencing in February it is alleged that he began to use a siren that sounds like an industrial steam whistle, also late at night.

The siren, it is claimed is powered by a generator, that is also loud and the cause of significant disruption to the hotel and has damaged its business reputation.

For several months the siren had alleged been used intermittently and in short burst.

However, it is claimed that in recent weeks Mr Godwin has escalated the use of the siren, allowing it to sound for six hours commencing 10-45pm at night, and ending in the early morning.

Counsel said that it appears that the increased use of the siren, allied to the recent erection of billboards on the roof of the lodge Mr Godwin claims he owns, personally targeting Mr Barry English, was an escalation of the defendants' campaign over the connection of services.

Counsel said that the defendants' behaviour is adversely impacting on the hotel's corporate and wedding businesses.

The hotel he said cannot function with the loud noise going through the night, and unless restrained it was feared that the disruption will continue.

Counsel said his client is particularly concerned about the effect the noise would have on two weddings due to be held at the hotel this weekend.

Other issues between the parties include an alleged attempt by the defendants to restore electricity to the lodges by breaking into the main service yard of the hotel, resulting in the Gardai being called, counsel said.

in 2021 counsel said graffiti was dubbed on the lodges, stating that "Water is a human right" "Unprovoked" and "We have children".

Hotel staff attempted to paint over the graffiti, however they were told to stop after the Gardai were called.

The hotel then placed wooden hoarding around the hotel, but this was cut down, counsel said.

The plaintiffs claim they are willing to allow the ESB access to the lodges to reconnect them, once their expenses are covered.

However, that offer was not taken up and the ESB has not carried out such works, it is claimed.

The court heard that there had been other issues between the parties including a planning row over the use of sea containers on the grounds for storage, the removal of a portable water tank and the installation of CCTV cameras.

After considering the plaintiffs submissions Mr Justice Brian O'Moore said he was satisfied from the evidence put before the court to grant them a temporary injunction restraining the noise.

The injunction restrains the defendants, or anyone else who is aware of the order, from using a siren, airhorn, alarm or power generators for the purpose of generating loud noise near the hotel.

The order was granted on an ex-parte basis and was made returnable to a date next week.