Clerys workers demand answers over €3.7m paid to former owner

‘Interest and fees’ payment to Gordon Brothers was six times larger than previous one

Clerys workers Emily McDermott  and her daughter Nathania, from Donaghmede , at a  demonstration in support of Clerys workers on O’Connell Street, Dublin, last year

Clerys workers Emily McDermott and her daughter Nathania, from Donaghmede , at a demonstration in support of Clerys workers on O’Connell Street, Dublin, last year

 

Representatives of the Clerys staff who lost their jobs when the department store closed last year have demanded an explanation from its former owner, US private equity firm Gordon Brothers, about why almost €3.7 million was paid from Clerys to the US firm in the run-up to the sale.

The payment emerged this week in financial statements for the Clerys holding company, OCS Investment Holdings, and was highlighted in The Irish Times.

The payment was referred to as “interest and fees”, although no further explanation was given. It was almost six times larger than a corresponding payment the previous year. A loan to Clerys from Gordon Brothers of €6.5 million was repaid separately.

John Finn, a spokesman for the Siptu-linked Justice for Clerys Workers group, queried the circumstances of the payment, especially given that staff were left without redundancy payments and the State had to pay those.

“There may be a blameless explanation for Gordon Brothers, in the 12 months leading up to the sale, charging a sum for ‘interest and fees’ that was six times greater than during the previous year,” he said.

“Whatever the explanations for these payments, the former Clerys workers would very much like to hear them.”

Gordon Brothers has not responded to emails from this newspaper and calls to the mobile phones of its senior executives asking for clarification of why the payment was made.