| 6.3°C Dublin

Employer accused of looting workers' pensions

A COMPANY director accused of looting the pension fund contributions of almost 200 employees has been given three weeks to decide how he will plead.

Colm McNulty, director of Limestone Construction, Kilreesk Lane, St Margaret's, Dublin, is facing prosecution at Dublin District Court for deducting contributions from workers without paying them into a pension scheme.

The Irish Pensions Board (IPB) took the case when it discovered that the firm had allegedly deducted funds totalling €80,000 from its staff, which were not remitted to the Construction Workers' Pension Scheme.

The government agency has power to investigate the conduct of Irish pension schemes, and to ensure that trustees, employers, pension administrators and their advisers comply with the obligations they owe to current and former employees in relation to their pension contributions and benefits.

Penalty

It is claimed that as an employer Mr McNulty deducted sums from the wages from July 2006 until September the following year.

The maximum penalty on conviction in the district court for each offence is one year's imprisonment or a fine of €5,000 or both.

In 2008, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest when he did not show up for a court hearing but he has since returned to face his prosecution.

In February at Dublin District Court, Judge John O'Neill heard that Mr McNulty's bail conditions had been agreed.

The case was supposed to resume next Monday, however, yesterday Judge O'Neill heard that the defence was awaiting disclosure of some material and needed to take statements from two witnesses including one who is currently in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

John Berry BL, defending, asked for the case to be adjourned until May 15 when Mr McNulty will be in a position to say how he intends to plead. A lawyer for the IPB was agreeable to the adjournment.

The business man was not present yesterday for the request to postpone the proceedings and was remanded on continuing bail in his absence.

Irish Independent