Saturday 21 July 2018

Former executive at K Club feared for his safety, court told

Peter Curran pictured at the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts
Peter Curran pictured at the Four Courts. Photo: Collins Courts

Tim Healy

A former K Club catering manager, who alleges he was threatened arising out of a dispute he had with his former employer, told the High Court he was fearful for his safety afterwards.

Peter Curran said he began to have fears after Gerry Byrne, a resort superintendent at the K Club, allegedly made the threat in which the name of K Club owner Dr Michael Smurfit was used.

He claims Mr Byrne said to him: "Dr Smurfit has not forgotten the statements about him and the call girls. Dr Smurfit knows where to find you and this is not over."

Mr Curran said: "I felt it was a threat to where I was living. I started to lock the windows and doors, I double-checked. I know the man. He is a tyrannical bully and a psychopath."

Mr Curran, who lives in Cahirsiveen, Co Kerry, said he also put a knife in his drawer.

"I took the threat from Dr Smurfit, from the messenger, that anything was possible," he said.

Mr Curran was giving evidence in the second day of his action against K Club Ltd, of Straffan, Co Kildare, Dr Smurfit and Mr Byrne.

Mr Curran claims that, on May 7, 2011, his way was blocked in the toilets at Punchestown races and Mr Byrne allegedly made the "Dr Smurfit has not forgotten" remarks.

Mr Curran claims the alleged motive behind the encounter was a reference to a previous High Court case he took against the K Club in which he referred in a court document to call girls being given free use of the hotel facilities at the K Club.

He says that previous case arose out of unfair dismissal proceedings he brought when he was forced to leave his employment in 1998. It was an implied term of the settlement of those proceedings that he would not be threatened, harassed or intimidated.

As a result, he brought these latest proceedings in which all the defendants deny the claims.

Dr Smurfit and the K Club further deny the incident took place but say if it did, Mr Byrne did not act on their behalf or on their instructions.

Mr Curran, who was replying to questions from his own counsel yesterday, said he was shell-shocked and tearful after the encounter at Punchestown races.

"I made no statements about him and call girls," he said.

Mr Curran said he did not know how he got back home.

He said at one stage he had a job in Kerry valeting cars but he had a panic attack and has not worked since. "A helicopter came nearby and it reminded me of Dr Smurfit and I had a form of a panic attack," he said.

The case before Mr Justice Anthony Barr continues.

Irish Independent

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