Updated: 11/04/17 : 05:20:47
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Sligo boss faces court charges over Clerys

SLIGO WOMAN Deirdre Foley faces four criminal charges arising from her company's handling of collective redundancies at Clerys department store.

Foley is charged with impeding a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) inspector.

She is also accused on three counts of breaking 'protection of employment' laws.

The alleged offences are all under the Protection of Employment Act.

Prosecution claims there was a failure to initiate consultations with representatives of employees affected by the collective redundancies in OCS Operations Ltd.

It is also alleged there was a failure to supply employee representatives with all relevant information relating to the 2015 redundancies.

A further charge relates to not notifying the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in writing, on June 12th 2015 – the day of the Clerys takeover.


Dublin District Court before Judge John Brennan heard the first listing of the case yesterday, Monday.

It has now been adjourned to May 19th next, following submissions from defence and prosecution lawyers.

The prosecutions have been instituted by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the WRC, Judge Brennan was informed by Breffni Gordon BL, for the prosecution.

                  The now closed iconic Clerys department store on Dublin's O'Connell St,

Lost Jobs

Two other executives, as well as previous owners OCS Operations Ltd (now in liquidation), and Natrium Ltd (which took over the iconic department store in 2015) have been served with summons on connected charges.

OCS Operations petitioned the High Court for liquidation on June 12th 2015. 

This was followed by the collective redundancies in which 460 people lost jobs, and 130 of whom were directly employed by Clerys.

Lawyers for the defence argued that in the interest of a fair trial an order should be made for disclosure of evidence at this stage. 

Prosecution barrister Breffni Gordon resisted the application and said the disclosure would be provided at a later stage.

Riverstown native Deirdre Foley, of Upper Ranelagh, Dublin 6, who has a 20% share in Natrium Ltd, faces four charges in total.

One count alleges that it was with her consent or connivance that Natrium Ltd impeded a WRC inspector on June 12th 2015.

Her other three charges are under the Protection of Employment Act.

These concern failing to initiate consultations with representatives of employees, failing to supply employee representatives with all relevant information relating to the redundancies and not notifying the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in writing, on 12th June 2015.

Laptop Seized

The judge was told Foley has an application before the Court of Appeal on 28 April.

Then, Foley will bid to overturn a High Court ruling last year dismissing her challenge to the investigation. 

Prosecution barrister Breffni Gordon said that during the investigation a laptop was seized at the offices of Foley’s firm, D2 Private Ltd.

But it was returned to her after a forensic image of it was taken.

Ceased Trading

OCS Operations Ltd faces three charges. It operated Clerys Department Store and Warehouse from 2012 until a liquidator was appointed in June 2015, when it ceased trading.

There is one charge against Natrium Ltd, the company that took over OCS Operations Ltd in 2015.

It is is co-owned by property developer Deirdre Foley and a UK-based property investment and hedge fund business which has an 80% stake.

 Natrium Ltd is accused of obstructing or impeding a WRC inspector on 27 June last year at 25-28 North Wall Quay, the company’s address.

Relevant Information

Also before the court is Mark Redmond, of Saggart, Co Dublin an employee of a D2 Private Ltd, a firm owned by Deirdre Foley. 

He faces the same charges for allegedly failing to notify the Minister or consult with workers’ representatives or provide them with relevant information about the redundancies.

Brendan Cooney, a director of OCS Operations Ltd, with an address at Stillorgan, Co Dublin also has the same charges.

He faces an additional one under the Workplace Relations Act of giving false or misleading information to an inspector.