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Former sales manager with pet food supplier says ex-employer has defamed him, court hears

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A FORMER sales manager with a pet food supplier has secured a temporary High Court injunction requiring his ex-employers to stop publishing allegedly defamatory statements about him.

The orders were secured by Gerard Flannery who had been the Sales Manager in the Republic of Ireland for Northern Ireland based Nutts About Pets Ltd and a related firm Speedritedog Food Limited.

On December 7th last he claims he was summarily dismissed without any prior notice. 

A week later statements were posted on Nutts About Pets Ltd website and Facebook page.

The company statements refer to "misleading rumours and speculation" regards to Mr Flannery's dismissal and that Nutts About Pets would "like to set the record straight".

The statements add that Mr Flannery was sacked after "a lengthy investigation financial irregularities" within the office where he worked.

Mr Flannery's counsel Margaret Nerny SC told the High Court on Monday that the statements are "defamatory" of her client, who had worked very hard on behalf of the company during his tenure.

Mr Flannery claims the statements are an attempt to destroy his reputation in order to distract from the defendant's own financial irregularities and shortcomings.

The court heard that Mr Flannery was suspicious of the VAT regime and general accounting regime being operated by the two companies. 

Counsel said her client was well known in the greyhound sector, had increased product sales and had earned a promotion during his tenure with the company.

He said in a sworn statement that in 2017 he was informed by Head Office not to be present in his office and to remove sales books and associated documentation when revenues officials carried out an inspection at the office he was based at. 

Counsel said matters had been exacerbated several days after the statements were published when readers of the web pages were asked to "share this post."

As a result of the publications Mr Flannery from Ballinakill, Eyrecourt, Co Galway, secured an injunction against the two companies, and the firm's owner Mr Basil Thompson.

The orders require the defendants to remove and delete the company statement posted on both the Nutts About Pets website and facebook pages on December 13th last.

The orders also require the defendants to remove and delete a post made on December 23rd entitled "please share this post" in regards to the statement posted on the sites  December 13th.

The defendants are further prevented from publishing any statements about Mr Flannery and the termination pending further order from the court,

The injunction was granted on an ex parte basis, where one side was present in court, by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys who said he was satisfied to grant the orders sought.

The Judge made the matter returnable to later this week.

Online Editors