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Friday 22 September 2017

Clerys criminal action considered by WRC

Clerys clock. Picture: Frank McGrath
Clerys clock. Picture: Frank McGrath

Anne-Marie Walsh

The director general of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has revealed it is considering if there are grounds to take criminal action following the shock closure of landmark department store Clerys.

Oonagh Buckley said commission inspectors who are under ministerial appointment to act "in respect of the specific aspects of the way staff were treated" when the store shut without warning two years ago are examining the case from a legal enforcement perspective.

"Whether anything comes from that, it hasn't been yet determined," she said.

The inspectors are due to issue a report shortly.

D2 Private, part of the joint venture which bought the store, did not respond to a request for comment.

A total of 460 workers - 130 of whom were directly employed - lost their jobs in June 2015 when the well-known store on O'Connell Street in Dublin was sold to the joint venture, Natrium.

Last year, the High Court dismissed a challenge by businesswoman Deirdre Foley and her company D2 Private to the inspectors' seizure of material by investigators probing the takeover of the store.

D2 Private and Ms Foley have appealed the High Court's decision to dismiss their challenge against powers used by the inspectors investigating the collective redundancies.

Natrium is made up of D2 and UK-based Cheyne Capital Management. The WRC began an investigation not long after the closure.

Ms Foley and D2 claimed the inspectors were not entitled to enter its offices and seize items, including a laptop computer and documents. It claimed it was never the employers of the Clerys workers.

The WRC argued the decision to enter D2's offices was legitimate and in the public interest.

Irish Independent

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