Monday 19 March 2018

Former Dairygold chief's job terminated for 'spurious' reasons, court hears

Tim Healy

FORMER Dairygold chief executive Jerry Henchy's €560,000 a year job was wrongfully terminated for "spurious" reasons, it was claimed in the High Court.

It was part of a campaign by Dairygold chairman Vincent Buckley and others, the court heard. Mr Henchy, who is claiming €8m in damages, says what happened to him involved "a travesty of fair procedures".

The 48-year-old father of three from Kilmallock, Co Limerick, has not worked since his job was terminated in 2009.

Patrick Hanratty said his employment was terminated for "spurious" reasons purportedly related to his farm account with Dairygold. Mr Henchy contended that was not the real reason but was one seized upon by Mr Buckley in January 2009.

Mr Henchy had clashed with board members who refused to sign a code of conduct, said Mr Hanratty. After Mr Henchy privately voiced concerns about Mr Buckley not having signed, Mr Buckley was told of these concerns.

The court heard Mr Henchy had to deal with factional interests on the board, and his plan to have Dairygold exit pig production was opposed by pig farmer Patrick O'Keeffe whose father, former TD Ned O'Keeffe, called for Mr Henchy's resignation. It was not until January 21, 2009 when he was asked to meet Mr Buckley and Mr O'Leary, that "the penny dropped that his employment was at risk", said Mr Hanratty.

Dairygold has said Mr Henchy's work contract was transferred in June 2006 to associated company Reox which, it is claimed, then regulated his employment.

It is denied that Mr Henchy was CEO or an employee of Dairygold after June 1, 2006 and is claimed he was employed by Reox. Four weeks have been set aside for the action.

Irish Independent

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