Tallaght's shopping centre is suing Three to force it to keep a store open

The telecoms firm closed its shop without giving notice earlier this month.

By Aodhan O'Faolain

A ROW HAS broken out between the owners and operators of The Square in Tallaght and Three Ireland over the mobile firm’s decision to close one of its stores at the shopping centre.

The Square Management Ltd and Laseda Limited claim Three Ireland has breached the terms of its lease agreement after it closed one of its two stores at the South Dublin shopping centre on 11 August this year.

The unit is one of more than 160 in the shopping centre which was formally put up for sale earlier this week with an asking price of €233 million.

As a result of the closure, the owners and operators have brought High Court proceedings against Three Ireland Services (Hutchinson Ltd). It has sought orders including an injunction compelling the telecommunications firm to re-open the unit.

The application was mentioned before Mr Justice Henry Abbott at Thursday’s sitting of the High Court.

Michael Howard, SC for the shopping centre, told the court that the unit was closed by Three without notification to his client. The closure “came out of the blue” and his client was concerned about the implications of the move.

Counsel said the closure was very damaging for his client and the action was in breach of a lease dating back to the early 1990s in respect of unit 259, located on the shopping centre’s second floor.

Mr Howard said Three proposed to sublet the unit and his client did not consent to the change.

Opposing the application, Mark Sanfey, SC for Three, said the unit closed by his client was “a kiosk” and that his client’s other store in the shopping centre was “only 30 yards away.”

Sanfey said his client would also continue to pay rent and any service charges due on the unit.

Justice Abbott, who noted that the parties would continue to have an ongoing commercial relationship, suggested that they consider appointing a mediator in order to resolve the dispute.

This would ensure a speedy and cheap resolution to the row, the judge said.

Following a short adjournment to discuss matters, Howard informed the judge that an application would be made to admit the case to the fast track Commercial Court list in September.

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