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State to appeal decision to strike out charges against company which ran Clerys department store

Some 460 people lost their jobs in collective redundancies, 130 off whom were directly employed by Clerys, when it closed its doors for the last time in June 2015.

9929 Clerys workers_90506260 Deirdre Foley Source: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

THE DEPARTMENT OF Employment Affairs and Social Protection has been granted leave to apply for judicial review of the decision to strike out charges against the company and persons behind Clerys Department Store at the time of its closure in 2015.

Deirdre Foley, Mark Redmond and OCS Operations had faced charges of breaking protection of employment laws regarding how the issue of redundancy payments for 460 Clerys workers was handled, but that case was struck out in the District Court last month due to alleged delays on disclosure of evidence by the prosecution.

OCS Operations Ltd ran Clerys department store from 2012 until a liquidator was appointed in June 2015 when it ceased trading.

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, which initially brought the prosecution, has now been granted leave to apply for judicial review.

Deirdre Foley of Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Mark Redmond of Saggart, Co Dublin, and OCS Operations had faced three charges under the Protection of Employment Act.

The charges were failing to initiate consultations with representatives of employees, failing to supply them with all relevant information relating to the redundancies and not notifying the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in writing, on 12 June 2015 – the day of the Clerys takeover.

‘Enormous public interest’

Some 460 people lost their jobs in collective redundancies, 130 of these were directly employed by Clerys.

Speaking at an ex parte application for judicial review today, senior counsel for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Padraig Dwyer said:

There is enormous public interest in prosecuting the defendants in this case, due to the loss to exchequer involved, and the loss to the employees of Clerys.

“It may also serve to deter other entities from sidestepping the terms of redundancy. We submit that those issues are not something the District Court judge in making his strike-out order gave due weight to.”

90421507_90421507 Source: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

Last month, Dublin District Court Judge John Brennan agreed to a request from the defence to strike out the charges on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to comply with an order for disclosure.

But today Dwyer submitted a series of letters allegedly showing that the prosecution had complied with disclosure requests from the defendants.

Judge Seamus Noonan, presiding, agreed that a substantive case to grant leave to apply for a review of the District Court decision had been made. The case will next be heard on 26 June at the High Court.

Foley had also faced a charge of impeding a Workplace Relations Commission inspector, but this was withdrawn in December.

Additional reporting by Cianan Brennan

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