Monday 19 August 2019

Kilkenny Group family feud back to High Court after five month-long mediation talks fail

Marian O'Gorman. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Marian O'Gorman. Photo: Kieran Harnett

Ralph Riegel

The high-profile family feud between the mother and son who run the multi-million euro Kilkenny Group will revert back to the High Court after painstaking five-month mediation talks failed.

The row erupted last year when Marian O'Gorman, the chief executive of the Cork-based family business, terminated the employment of her son Greg.

Mr O'Gorman was marketing director for the Kilkenny luxury goods group for 13 years and played a key role in the expansion of retail operations. Mr O'Gorman immediately took legal action to stop his dismissal and require his mother to honour a deal to hold the group in trust for him and his siblings.

A series of high-profile High Court submissions eventually resulted in both sides agreeing to a mediation process last June.

However, it has now been confirmed that mediation failed and the matter will revert to the High Court for full hearing. The discovery process, which involves all relevant company and legal documentation being inspected by both sides, has now commenced.

The legal battle between the mother and son will reach full hearing in mid-2018.

Last night, Mr O'Gorman said in a statement that it was "unfortunate" meditation had failed.

The Kilkenny Group, which employs 300 people, increased its turnover under Mr O'Gorman's watch from €18m in 2010 to approximately €30m in 2016, and saw profits rise from €300,000 to €1.5m over the same period.

Mr O'Gorman claimed his dismissal, signalled in a letter delivered to his Cork home on July 8, 2016, was with "no suggestion of misconduct or non-performance".

He also claimed that the manner of his dismissal was "demeaning and humiliating".

Mr O'Gorman said the dismissal had left him, his wife and three children "financially destitute".

"Myself and my family have been put through 16 months of hurt and pain and I have been stripped of my career and reputation as a result of my mother's actions. I have now been left with no choice but to proceed with my case. This is a fight for what is right and fair," he said.

Mrs O'Gorman has not publicly commented on the two-year dispute with her son.

Mr O'Gorman described his mother in court filings as "by nature a domineering, aggressive and belligerent person".

Irish Independent

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