Landlord Marc Godart engages senior counsel to fight former tenant in High Court over €15,000 debt

Case involving nonpayment of debt to former tenant not properly before court, counsel for Green Label Short Lets Ltd says

The Luxembourg landlord Marc Godart has chosen to engage a legal team, including a senior counsel, to fight an application in the High Court rather than pay a €15,433 debt to a former tenant who was unlawfully evicted from one of his Dublin properties, a senior counsel representing the tenant told the court on Friday.

However Gary McCarthy SC, for Godart company Green Label Short Lets Ltd, said the application on behalf of former tenant Lizet Pena-Herrera was not properly before the court and should be struck out.

The application came before Mr Justice Brian Cregan on Friday for the fourth time and was the first time that both parties were represented by senior counsel. Ms Pena-Herrera is seeking an order that Mr Godart, and his parents, René and Denise Godart, be ordered to come before the court to be examined about the financial affairs of Green Label Short Lets.

An adjudicator with the Residential Tenancies Board ruled in 2022 that Ms Pena-Herrera, a former tenant of Green Label Short Lets, should be paid €15,433 in compensation after her “egregious” and unlawful eviction by the company from the property where she was living in Dublin.


After the award went unpaid, she secured an order from the District Court for payment of the debt, plus costs, but has yet to receive any payment. Mr Godart has told the High Court, by way of affidavit, that Green Label Short Lets has effectively ceased operations and has no assets.

When the case came before Mr Justice Cregan on Friday, John Kennedy SC, with Liam Bell BL, instructed by Eoghan McMahon, of McGrath Mullen solicitors, for the plaintiff, said Mr Godart was entitled to engage lawyers to contest the action but the “factual matrix” before the court was that a legal team had been engaged while the debt remained unpaid.

There was no reflection in either of the two affidavits that had been sworn by Mr Godart of the “awful situation” in which Ms Pena-Herrera had been left following her illegal eviction, rather the affidavits contained “excuses” and “being sorry for himself and his family”.

Mr Godart, who is resident in Luxembourg, is the sole director of Green Label Short Lets following the resignation of his mother, Denise Godart, as a director. René Godart is a former secretary of the company.

Mr Kennedy said Mr Godart was seeking to avail of the benefits of companies having limited liability while Green Label was not complying with a court order to pay a debt. He was “trying to be too clever by half”, he said.

“Rather than feeling sorry for Ms Pena-Herrera he feels sorry for himself,” counsel said, and there was a “deep sense of entitlement” in both of Mr Godart’s sworn affidavits.

The court is being asked to make an order under both the Companies Act and the rules of the superior courts that Mr Godart and his parents should appear before the court to be examined about Green Label Short Lets. One possibility, Mr Kennedy said, was that Mr Godart could be made personally responsible for the Green Label debt after his evidence had been heard.

However, Mr McCarthy, with Darragh Haugh BL, instructed by Vincent Shields, of Shields Solicitors, Cahir, Co Tipperary, said the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the application and it did not meet the requirements of the section of the Companies Act under which it had been brought.

He said he was there representing Green Label and had taken instructions from Mr Godart on that basis. He was not representing Mr Godart personally or his parents.

Mr McCarthy said he did not want to appear unsympathetic to Ms Pena-Herrera but “unfortunately” the application involved a section of the Companies Act that concerned companies that were not being wound up due to an insufficiency of assets, and there was no evidence before the court that that was the case. He also raised points about the right of creditors, as against liquidators, to question directors and officers of a company.

Mr Godart, in his latest affidavit, said the extensive media coverage he and the court case were receiving was “deeply concerning” and there had been an “unwarranted intrusion” into his private and data protection rights, about which he was taking legal advice about potential future proceedings.

Mr Kennedy said his client was a “normal person with a normal job” who was looking for justice and was relying on the “sterling work” that journalists had done in relation to her case.

Mr Justice Cregan said that, on a prima facie basis, the legal points raised by Mr McCarthy appeared to be well-founded. He adjourned the case to Thursday next to allow Mr Kennedy to prepare a response.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent