Former McInerney MD seeks €1m damages in unfair dismissal case
Former McInerney Holdings managing director Barry O’Connor is seeking €1 million in compensation from the building group in an unfair dismissal claim that is set to reopen next week.
Mr O’Connor, who left the group in April 2010, began an unfair dismissal action in the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) against McInerney Holdings last September.
The case was adjourned for three months to allow its directors time to prepare a defence.
The matter is due back before the tribunal next Wednesday and it has emerged Mr O’Connor is seeking up to €1 million compensation from the company.
5.1 per cent stake
Mr O’Connor has a 5.1 per cent stake in the business and is a member of its board. His claim dates back to his departure as managing director in April 2010. He returned to its board in July 2011.
The tribunal, which is not a court, can award up to two years’ pay to a successful claimant in compensation for their unfair dismissal.
McInerney’s annual report for 2009, his last full year at the house building group’s helm, shows Mr O’Connor earned a total of €574,414.
This included a salary of €446,930, benefits of €24,141, a social insurance payment of €47,037 and a pension contribution of €56,306. In 2008 his package was worth €574,413.
However, as the group’s financial troubles deepened in 2010 Mr O’Connor and his fellow executives took pay cuts. This left him with what would have been a salary in the region of €240,000 had he stayed for the full year.
As McInerney Holdings did not publish an annual report for 2010 it is not known what cuts, if any, he agreed to take on the other payments and benefits that made up his pay.
An initial hurdle he faces in his case next week is demonstrating he was an employee of McInerney Holdings plc.
Employed by subsidiary
A subsidiary of the holding company, Gaskan, which has since been wound up, directly employed the former managing director and some of his executive colleagues. McInerney Holdings had no staff.
When he left as managing director, it was reported he had departed to bid for one of the businesses it owned in Spain. McInerney planned to sell some of these operations as part of a restructuring aimed at tackling its €200 million-plus debt.
McInerney group’s Irish operating companies were placed in receivership last year after the Supreme Court ruled against a rescue plan drawn up after an examinership that began in late 2010.
At a meeting in July 2011 David Nabarro, who now owns 13.8 per cent of the company, won the support of a majority of its shareholders to take charge of McInerney Holdings plc and defeated a proposal from its previous board to wind it up.
Mr O’Connor supported Mr Nabarro and returned to the board following that vote. The other directors are Kevin Lynch and John Garratt.