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Thursday 28 August 2014

Concrete firm gets 100-day reprieve to save 163 jobs

Anne-Marie Walsh, Tim Healy and Emma Jane Hade

Published 21/06/2014 | 02:30

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The company has a number of major clients
The company has a number of major clients
Louise Graham leaves Morrissey’s at Bennekerry after learning that she we will be back at work on Monday

MORE than 160 jobs at major concrete company Dan Morrissey (Ireland) Ltd may be saved after it was granted 100 days to come up with a rescue plan.

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Mr Justice David Keane yesterday ordered that the joint receivers appointed on Thursday to the third generation Carlow-based business – owed €27m by the company – should cease to act and that an interim examiner be put in place to come up with a survival scheme within 100 days.

Workers, some with over 30 years service, feared they would lose their jobs with just a statutory redundancy package when receivers were appointed earlier this week.

The company stopped trading after becoming insolvent and receiver Grant Thornton stepped in to manage its affairs.

Gary McCarthy SC, on behalf of the directors of the company, told the court yesterday the application for an examiner was made because the directors believed it was possible for it to continue as a going concern by restructuring the debt and pay it off by continuing to trade.

The company has a number of major clients including county councils and has some €4.5m worth of contracts in the pipeline.

Mr Justice Keane said he was satisfied to appoint Brian McEnery of BDO as interim examiner. He also ordered that the joint receivers appointed by the bank cease to act as and from yesterday, and said the matter could come back before the court next Thursday.

SIPTU said the 163 staff were locked out after arriving to work last Thursday and were met by security guards who had padlocked the gates.

"It's been a massive shock," said SIPTU official Davy Lane.

"No one expected this to happen at all. These 163 people did not know whether they would have any jobs to go to on Monday morning."

Carlow County Council sent a letter to AIB chief executive David Duffy yesterday expressing its disappointment at its decision to appoint a receiver, following a special meeting held by the authorities.

The emotional meeting was attended by workers and their families, as well as locals, councillors from Carlow and Wicklow, and deputies Pat Deering, John McGuinness and Ann Phelan.

Speaking at the Carlow council offices yesterday afternoon, the company's quarry manager, Aidan Doyle, said that "it has been a tough couple of days", but that the staff fully support management.

"I don't think it has fully sunk in yet," Mr Doyle told KCLR FM. "But hopefully we will get through this."

Irish Independent

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