Saturday 18 November 2017

Kilkenny asks court for bitter family dispute to be heard in private


Kilkenny chief Marian O’Gorman. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Kilkenny chief Marian O’Gorman. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

The company which owns the Kilkenny stores wants to have a bitter dispute, which has torn the retail dynasty apart, to be heard in camera - with no media reporting allowed.

Last week it was agreed by both sides that separate cases against the company - relating to Michael O'Gorman, the husband of Kilkenny chief Marian O'Gorman, and Greg O'Gorman, son of Marian O'Gorman and Michael O'Gorman, be joined.

Greg O'Gorman, the group's former marketing director, is suing his mother, alleging that he and his family have been left "destitute" after he was "summarily dismissed" from his role last summer.

Greg O'Gorman claims, after 13 years' service, that he was "summarily terminated" last July in a "demeaning and humiliating" manner.

He also alleges that, despite promises over the years that ownership of the luxury group would be transferred to him and his siblings, his mother last June publicly repudiated a signed "Family Constitution" document under which she held legal ownership of shares. Greg O'Gorman's claims are being contested.

The High Court has heard that the document states that Clydaville Investments, trading as Kilkenny Group, is held in trust for the O'Gorman Family Business Partnership comprising Greg O'Gorman and his three siblings, Christopher, Melissa and Michelle O'Gorman.

The case has generated adverse publicity for the company. Last Friday Paul Coughlan, barrister for the Kilkenny Group, told the High Court that it was part of the company's motion that there would be an application to have both cases heard entirely in camera.

Otherwise "the very reason why the notice party has been joined is effectively open," said Coughlan, adding that Greg O'Gorman had previously "made allegations pertinent to family law proceedings which don't concern financial matters".

Without making a finding on the issue, Mr Justice McGovern responded that the "only thing that might impinge on matrimonial or family law proceedings here are figures. There is no other material that I could see. And there is a constitutional imperative that justice be heard in public".

The judge referred to the family's "history of hotly-disputed matters" and said that there is a lot of "collateral damage" in disputes involving families. The judge added that since the parties had thus far not been able to reach a resolution through mediation they would have to have the case heard through the courts. The case continues.

Sunday Indo Business

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