Thursday 19 October 2017

Businesswoman Foley facing extra charge over Clerys case

Deirdre Foley faces trial over collective redundancies at the iconic Clerys department store. Picture: Collins
Deirdre Foley faces trial over collective redundancies at the iconic Clerys department store. Picture: Collins

Tom Tuite

An extra charge is to be brought against businesswoman Deirdre Foley, who is facing trial over collective redundancies at Clerys department store.

Ms Foley already faces 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, and Natrium Ltd, which in 2015 bought the iconic department store on Dublin's O'Connell Street.

They are to go on trial at Dublin District Court in January. However, the case was listed again yesterday before Judge John Brennan for mention in relation to compliance with an earlier disclosure order.

Prosecution counsel Breffni Gordon told Judge Brennan that two additional summonses have been authorised and are to come before the court later this month.

Ms Foley's barrister, Remy Farrell SC, said he understood they were obstruction charges which were to be brought against the businesswoman and co-accused Mark Redmond.

Books of evidence and 11 boxes of material have already been handed over to the defence pursuant to disclosure orders made by Judge Brennan.

He adjourned the case for four weeks. The criminal proceedings have been brought by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the WRC.

OCS Operations petitioned the High Court for liquidation on June 12, 2015. This was followed by the collective redundancies in which 460 people lost their jobs, 130 of whom 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 it was returned to her after a forensic image of it was taken.

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

The alleged offences are under the Protection of Employment Act for 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 12, 2015 - the day of the Clerys takeover.

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

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

Her other three charges are under the 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 in writing, on June 12, 2015.

Mr Redmond, of Belfry Dale, Citywest Road, Saggart, Dublin, is an employee of D2 Private Ltd. Mr Cooney, of Weirview Drive, Stillorgan, Dublin, is a director of OCS Operations Ltd.

Irish Independent

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