Deirdre Foley to seek disclosure of evidence in Clerys case

Businesswoman charged with impeding WRC over redundancies at Dublin store

Deirdre Foley: The case against Ms Foley, Mark Redmond and Brendan Cooney, OCS Operations Ltd and Natrium Ltd has been adjourned until July 3rd. Photograph: Collins Courts

Deirdre Foley: The case against Ms Foley, Mark Redmond and Brendan Cooney, OCS Operations Ltd and Natrium Ltd has been adjourned until July 3rd. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

Businesswoman Deirdre Foley will seek disclosure of evidence in July in a prosecution stemming from collective redundancies following the takeover of Clerys department store in Dublin.

Ms Foley faces a single charge of impeding a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) inspector as well as three counts of breaking protection of employment laws.

Her co-defendants are two executives, Mark Redmond and Brendan Cooney, the previous owner of Clerys, OCS Operations Ltd (now in liquidation), and Natrium Ltd which in 2015 took over the iconic department store on O’Connell Street.

The case had its second listing at Dublin District Court on Friday before Judge John Brennan.

Prosecution solicitor Niamh Tuite said the defendants had been excused from attending and it had been agreed with their lawyers that the case could be adjourned until July 3rd next.

Ronan Kennedy BL, for Deirdre Foley and Natrium Ltd, said the application for disclosure of evidence will be renewed.

Adjourning the case, Judge Brennan said the defendants were excused from attending the next hearing.

The criminal proceedings have been instituted by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the WRC.

Liquidation

OCS Operations petitioned the High Court for liquidation on June 12th, 2015. This was followed by the collective redundancies in which 460 people lost jobs; 130 of them were directly employed by Clerys, the court has heard.

Last month, lawyers for the defence argued that in the interest of a fair trial an order should should have been made then for disclosure of evidence. The application was resisted at the first hearing in April with the prosecution saying disclosure would be provided at a later stage.

The judge was told Ms Foley has an application before the Court of Appeal in a bid to overturn a High Court ruling last year dismissing her challenge to the investigation. He heard on Friday that the appeal is to resume on June 22nd next.

Earlier, Judge Brennan was also told that during the investigation a laptop was seized at the offices of Ms Foley’s firm D2 Private Ltd, but it was returned to her after a forensic image of it was taken.

None of the defendants have yet entered a plea.

OCS Operations Ltd has three charges. It operated Clerys Department Store and Warehouse from 2012 until a liquidator was appointed in June 2015, when it ceased trading.

The alleged offences are under the Protection of Employment Act for failing to initiate consultations with representatives of employees affected by the collective redundancies in OCS Operations Ltd, failing to supply employee representatives with all relevant information relating to the redundancies, and not notifying the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in writing, on June 12th, 2015 – the day of the Clerys takeover.

Hedge fund business

There is one charge against Natrium Ltd, the company that took over OCS Operations Ltd in 2015 and which is co-owned by property developer Deirdre Foley and a UK-based property investment and hedge fund business which has an 80 per cent stake. Natrium Ltd is accused of obstructing or impeding a WRC inspector on June 27th last year at 25-28 North Wall Quay, the company’s address.

Deirdre Foley, of Hollybank Avenue Upper, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, who has a 20 per cent share in Natrium Ltd, faces four charges. One count alleges that it was with her consent or connivance that Natrium Ltd impeded a WRC inspector on June 12th, 2015.

Her other three charges are under the Protection of Employment Act for failing 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 June 12th, 2015.

Mark Redmond, of Belfry Dale, Citywest Road, Saggart, Co Dublin, is an employee of D2 Private Ltd, a firm owned by Deirdre Foley. He faces the same charges for allegedly failing to notify the Minister or consult with workers’ representatives or provide them with relevant information about the redundancies.

Brendan Cooney, a director of OCS Operations Ltd, with an address at Weirview Drive, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, has the same charges plus an additional charge under the Workplace Relations Act for giving false or misleading information to an inspector.