Ex-head of building group sues over dismissal
THE FORMER managing director of building group McInerney Holdings, Barry O’Connor, is suing the company for unfair dismissal.
The group’s Irish operating companies were placed in receivership last year after the High Court shot down a rescue plan drawn up after a lengthy examinership.
At a meeting in July 2011, 21-per-cent stakeholder David Nabarro won support of a majority of shareholders to take charge of the group’s publicly quoted parent, McInerney Holdings, and defeated a proposal from its previous board to wind it up.
Yesterday, Mr O’Connor began an unfair dismissal case against the company at an Employment Appeals Tribunal. The hearing was postponed to December 12th to give McInerney’s directors time to gather information necessary to defend the proceedings. Mr O’Connor is on the McInerney board with Mr Nabarro and executive Kevin Lynch.
The former managing director helped Mr Nabarro to acquire his 21 per cent stake in the company at zero cost last year, and it was originally intended he would work closely with him and his colleagues in reviving the company.
Mr O’Connor’s case dates back to his departure as managing director in April 2010 and he informed the company of his intention to sue for unfair dismissal before the shareholders’ meeting in July of last year. The statement of affairs prepared by the previous board for that meeting included a contingent liability for Mr O’Connor’s unfair dismissal case.
Sources suggested yesterday the former executive may be planning further legal action along with the employment appeals case. When he worked for McInerney Holdings, Mr O’Connor and some of his executive colleagues were directly employed by a subsidiary, Gaskan, since wound up. The holding company itself did not employ anyone directly.
At the time of his departure in April 2010, it was reported he had left the company as he intended 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. Mr O’Connor had a 5.1 per cent stake in the group.
McInerney’s operating subsidiaries entered examinership the following autumn. The High Court later refused to approve a rescue plan drawn up during this process as it unfairly prejudiced the interests of one creditor, Belgian-owned KBC.
Mr Lynch said the company has had to delay plans to raise cash from shareholders to develop some former McInerney sites while it deals with Mr O’Connor’s employment appeals action.