Sunday 17 November 2019

More than half of 390 Target jobs to be saved

Ralph Riegel and Aodhan O'Faolain

THE jobs of more than 200 of the 390 people employed by Target Express are set to be saved after the High Court last night approved the sale of key assets to a rival transport firm.

Strategic parts of Target Express, which collapsed last week with the loss of all 390 jobs and the closure of a dozen depots, will be sold by the liquidator to Masterlink Logistics.

Blanchardstown-based Masterlink and liquidators Michael McAteer and Stephen Tennant confirmed a deal had been struck and that attempts would be made to save as many jobs as possible.

The High Court was earlier told that if an agreement could be struck to sell the firm's name, customer lists and goodwill to Masterlink, a significant portion of the Target Express jobs might be saved.

The Irish Independent understands that this could amount to 200 jobs.

A significant number of Target Express workers have already been offered employment by other haulage firms seeking to expand.

Mr Justice Roderick Murphy last night granted an application to the liquidators to allow them to enter into a sale contract with Masterlink.

This followed prolonged negotiations between the liquidators and Masterlink, who are believed to have offered a cash consideration for key Target Express assets. Masterlink has also indicated it will pay a further sum based on turnover generated from the acquired Target Express assets.

The liquidators had previously confirmed that Target Express's existing assets were unlikely to cover its liabilities to its creditor banks, the Revenue Commissioners, suppliers and workers.

Employees are now dependent on state contingency funds to secure wages, holiday pay and redundancy packages.

Target Express owner Seamus McBrien has declined to comment since the High Court confirmed the firm's liquidation on Wednesday.

He had previously blamed the Revenue Commissioners for the firm's collapse over outstanding tax liabilities.

Heartbreaking

Target Express Cork depot spokesman Tom Cullen said it had been "a heartbreaking week" for all 390 staff nationwide, but some were hopeful of their jobs being saved.

He said: "We got half of what we wanted. We will get the statutory redundancy in about four to five months. That's the norm. There's a lot of bureaucracy involved here.

"What we also got was a steadfast promise of help from next Tuesday when the Department of Social Protection will be down here to meet us.

"What they're saying is that we're in the system and we're looking at around six weeks for the payments."

Mr Cullen said the workers had not spoken to Mr McBrien.

"We've had no contact whatsoever. He's had no contact with us and, at this stage, we don't want any contact with the man," he said.

Irish Independent

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