High Court challenge to decision on Clerys redundancies charges

Dublin District Court judge struck out the charges last month

Clerys was closed in June 2015 and 460 people lost their jobs. Photograph: Eric Luke

Clerys was closed in June 2015 and 460 people lost their jobs. Photograph: Eric Luke


A High Court challenge has been brought over a lower court’s decision to strike out charges linked to redundancies at Clerys department store in Dublin.

Dublin District Court judge John Brennan last month struck out charges against businesswoman Deirdre Foley; Mark Redmond, of Belfry Dale, Saggart, Co Dublin; and the previous owners of Clerys, OCS Operations Ltd, on grounds the prosecution had failed to comply with an order for disclosure.

Lawyers for the company, Ms Foley and Mr Redmond applied to have the charges struck out on grounds they could not get a fair trial without being provided with certain material from the inspectors appointed by the Workplace Relations Commission to investigate issues related to the redundancies.

The judge ruled any further adjournment would encroach on the defendants’ rights to fair procedure and an expeditious trial. The prosecution was brought by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Workplace Relations Commission.

The respondents had been charged with offences arising out of the closure of Clery’s in June 2015 when 460 people, of whom 134 were employees of OCS Operations Ltd, lost their jobs.

At the High Court on Monday, lawyers for the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection secured permission ex parte from Mr Justice Séamus Noonan to bring judicial review proceedings aimed at having Judge John Brennan’s decision quashed.

The Minister, represented by Pádraig O’Dwyer and Breffni Gordon Bl, claims the district judge failed to strike a balance between the public interest in the prosecution of the offences and any risk of an unfair trial. The strike out order was wholly disproportionate and unjust having regard to all the circumstances of the case and that the Minister had fully discharged its duty to make disclosure to the respondents, it is claimed.