Updated: 24/10/17 : 07:50:25
Printable Version   Bookmark and Share Share This

local

Sligo business woman to face more charges over Clerys redundancies

Two extra charges have been brought against developer Deirdre Foley, who is facing trial over the handling of redundancies at Clerys department store in Dublin.

The Riverstown native already faced a single charge of impeding a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) inspector and three counts of breaking protection of employment laws.


Her co-defendants are two executives, Mark Redmond and Brendan Cooney; the previous owners of Clerys, OCS Operations Ltd (now in liquidation); and Natrium Ltd, which in 2015 bought the iconic department store on Dublin’s O’Connell Street.

The Irish Times reports that they are to go trial in January. However, on Monday, additional charges were brought against Ms Foley, Mr Cooney, Mr Redmond and OCS Operations Ltd.

In the fresh charges, brought before the court by way of summonses, it is alleged that, on November 24th last year, they failed to keep records as required to ensure compliance with section 18.1 of the Protection of Employment Act.

Ms Foley also faces one other new charge for allegedly refusing in a letter to comply with lawful requirements of an WRC inspector.

Judge John Brennan noted from prosecution counsel Breffni Gordon that these charges could join the proceedings already ongoing. Disclosure of evidence has also been provided.

Ms Foley and two of the co-defendants were not present and were represented by a solicitor and counsel. However, Mr Cooney did attend court.

Judge Brennan adjourned the case to be mentioned again in November.

Disclosure orders

Books of evidence and 11 boxes of material have already been handed over to the defence pursuant to disclosure orders made at earlier stages by Judge Brennan. The criminal proceedings have been brought by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the WRC.

OCS Operations petitioned the High Court for liquidation on June 12th, 2015. This was followed by the collective redundancies in which 460 people lost their jobs. Some 130 of them were directly employed by Clerys, the court has heard.

Earlier, the district court was told that during the probe a laptop was seized at the offices of Ms Foley’s firm, D2 Private Ltd but that it was returned to her after a forensic image of it was taken.


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

The alleged offences are under the Protection of Employment Act and relate to failing to initiate consultations with representatives of employees affected by the collective redundancies in OCS Operations Ltd, 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 June 12th, 2015 – the day of the Clerys takeover.

There remains only one charge against Natrium Ltd, the company that took over OCS Operations Ltd in 2015 and which is co-owned by property developer Deirdre Foley and a UK-based business, which has an 80 per cent stake. Natrium Ltd is accused of obstructing or impeding a WRC inspector on June 27th last year at 25-28 North Wall Quay, the company’s address.

Deirdre Foley, of Hollybank Avenue Upper, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, who has a 20 per cent share in Natrium Ltd, already faces four other charges. One of them alleges that it was with her consent or connivance that Natrium Ltd impeded a WRC inspector on June 12th, 2015.

Consultations failure

The remaining charges she faces are under Protection of Employment Act for failing to initiate consultations with representatives of employees, failing to supply them with all relevant information relating to the redundancies and not notifying the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in writing, on June 12th, 2015.

Mark Redmond, of Belfry Dale, Citywest Road, Saggart, Co Dublin, is an employee of D2 Private Ltd, a firm owned by Deirdre Foley. He also faces same charges for allegedly failing to notify the Minister or consult with workers’ representative or provide them with relevant information about the redundancies.


Brendan Cooney, a director of OCS Operations Ltd, with an address at Weirview Drive, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, already faces the same charges plus an additional one under the Workplace Relations Act for giving false or misleading information to an inspector.