Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ex-CEO was paid €10.3m for paper

Tim Healy

THE former CEO of the 'Roscommon Herald' was paid €10.3m for the newspaper, it emerged in the High Court yesterday.

The money was paid for the sole shareholding in Roscommon Herald Ltd of Brian Nerney, who is challenging his dismissal by Thomas Crosbie Holdings Ltd (TCH), which bought the company from him in 2004.

The figure was revealed after Ms Justice Mary Laffoy ruled that it was relevant to the challenge by TCH as to the credibility of Mr Nerney on the allegation that he has not mitigated his losses.

It was the second day of the action by Mr Nerney (47), of Carrick Road, Boyle, Co Roscommon, who is claiming he suffered reputational damage after TCH informed him by letter last July that he was being made redundant from his €80,000 job.

TCH says it exercised its statutory entitlement to terminate Mr Nerney's employment on grounds of redundancy and has denied the purported termination was in breach of the contract of employment.

TCH's counsel Eoin Clifford yesterday put it to Mr Nerney he was a wealthy man and he had sold shares in Roscommon Herald Ltd for €10.3m in 2004.

Mr Nerney replied: "It was somewhere around that."

Counsel said the deal was made up of €8.5m on contract and €1.8m of cash remaining in the company. Counsel said he took it that Mr Nerney had put the money to good use.

"I did, yes. I am not prepared to say what investments I have. I have made money and lost money," Mr Nerney commented.

Mr Nerney also agreed with counsel that he owned two properties in Boyle and Roscommon town with a combined rent roll of €68,000 a year.

Asked if he had looked for other employment, Mr Nerney said he sent letters out, but he wanted to stay in the Roscommon area as he had a young family and he did not think Dublin was a commutable distance.

Asked about redundancies in the wider TCH group which includes several provincial newspapers, Mr Nerney said he would not have been aware of people being made redundant.

The case continues.

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