| 5.3°C Dublin

'Dead' Goodman is very much alive to defend unfair dismissal action

Reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated -- and beef baron Larry Goodman himself also laughed off internet rumours yesterday that he had died.

Emails circulating just before lunchtime yesterday claimed that the 73-year-old businessman had passed on.

But Mr Goodman was in fact sitting in a hearing of the Employment Appeals Tribunal where his former pilot has taken a case for unfair dismissal.

Speaking to the Irish Independent after the hearing, Mr Goodman said that he was unaware of the rumours.

"Why would I have a view?" Mr Goodman laughed, when asked if he had any comment on his own death.

Ronan Murtagh, a son of Kingspan founder Eugene Murtagh, has taken a case against Mr Goodman's firm Venair.

At earlier hearings he claimed that he was unfairly dismissed by Mr Goodman after he had written a letter to him in April 2009 complaining about a new pilot -- referred to as "PQ".

Mr Murtagh was yesterday cross-examined about the details of claims he is making against Mr Goodman.

Mr Murtagh claims Mr Goodman owes him almost €40,000 for his expenses while carrying out work for a Middle Eastern sheikh.

He told the tribunal that he had not been paid by the sheikh, whose name he didn't know, but who was draped in gold and who he believed to be "very important".

He said he believed Mr Goodman would be covering his expenses at the time.

But Mr Goodman's barrister, Ercus Stewart, questioned why his client was responsible for the money.

Mr Murtagh replied that the trip from Dubai to Riyadh in December 2009 was important for maintaining his flying experience for Mr Goodman, for whom he believed he was still working at the time.


Under cross-examination he admitted that he had not tried to sue the sheikh because he believed he was in prison in Saudi Arabia.

Mr Murtagh also agreed to drop a number of claims at the hearing, including one for a ring costing around €4,000 that he had bought for his girlfriend in Dubai.

He said the invoice was submitted to the tribunal by mistake because it was from around the same time as his other expenses claims regarding his stay there.

Mr Murtagh has claimed that he lost his job after he and fellow pilot David Dwyer informed Mr Goodman that they would no longer fly with the new pilot because, they alleged, the pilot's behaviour was unsafe.

The new pilot has since threatened Mr Murtagh with defamation proceedings.

Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Dwyer agreed that he had problems with the new pilot's flying and denied that Mr Murtagh had put him up to signing a complaint letter to Mr Goodman.

It also emerged yesterday that the new pilot had written a letter of complaint about Mr Murtagh and Mr Dwyer to Mr Goodman, which they were unaware of.

The case continues today.

Irish Independent