Sunday 26 February 2017

Newspaper's ex-chief court action begins

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

A COURT action involving the former head of a Roscommon newspaper will begin today in what promises to be an explosive case involving the media group Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH).

The former 'Roscommon Herald' chief executive Brian Nerney is claiming breach of contract against TCH, after he was laid off in 2011.

Mr Nerney sought an injunction last August against TCH, which owns the 'Irish Examiner' and 'Sunday Business Post' among other titles, from making him redundant. That was refused pending a full hearing of his case before the High Court.

That hearing was scheduled for December but was adj- ourned until today.

The case is expected to hear testimony from a number of high-profile witnesses.

TCH bought the 'Roscommon Herald' in 2004 for an undisclosed amount. Former TCH managing director Anthony Dinan led the company at the time, while Alan Crosbie was chairman.

During the August hearing, counsel for Mr Nerney claimed TCH's actions were in breach of Mr Nerney's contract of employment.

He had been with the 'Roscommon Herald' for 27 years – his parents had owned it until he had taken over in 1994. He had sold the newspaper to TCH Ltd in 2004 and had remained on as chief executive officer.

He claims that on July 17 he had received a letter stating his position was being made redundant and told not to attend the offices of the newspaper from the following day – in effect being given six hours to leave his office.

He stated that asking him to leave at short notice had pointed a finger of suspicion at him.

At the August hearing, TCH maintained his redundancy was solely related to significant cost savings in the group.

TCH chief executive Tom Murphy could not be reached for comment.

Irish Independent

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