No mediation in dispute over waste firm linked to ex-rugby star Shane Byrne

Case taken by Oxigen against Byrne and his brother William over joint operation, court told

Oxigen Environmental does not want at this stage to enter into mediation with former rugby star Shane Byrne and his brother Billy over claims about how a waste disposal company's affairs were conducted, the High Court has heard.

Earlier this month, Oxigen secured interim injunctions against the brothers arising from its concerns about their conduct of the affairs of AWD Waste Solutions Ltd.

The proceedings, brought under provisions of the Companies Act, include a bid by Oxigen to buy out the brothers' shareholding.

Oxigen became involved with AWD in 2012 but says the Byrne brothers are in control of the day-to-day running of the company's affairs from offices in Inch, Co Wexford.


The brothers are directors and hold a 49 per cent shareholding, while Oxigen holds 51 per cent.

Oxigen’s concerns include its claims that books and records of the company were removed and destroyed, that monies may be missing and about payments being made in cash.

It has also claimed that cash jobs invoiced for emptying septic tanks which should have been charged at €250 were allegedly only charged at one cent on the company invoices, leaving cash unaccounted for to the company.

It is further concerned the brothers had used company monies for “lavish” personal expenses.

In the context of those concerns, Oxigen secured temporary injunctions restraining disposal or destruction of the books and records of AWD pending further order.

The Byrne brothers deny any wrongdoing and say the injunction application was brought because Oxigen wants to force the purchase of their shares in AWD and to cause maximum and irreparable damage to their reputation.

When the matter returned before Ms Justice Reynolds on Tuesday, Richard Kean SC, for the Byrnes, sought an adjournment for the purpose of replying to an affidavit from Oxigen which was sent on Monday evening.

Counsel said time was also required to allow independent auditors appointed to AWD compile their report into the company’s fairs.

The auditors work is expected to take another two to three weeks to complete.

Counsel said an offer to go to mediation in respect of the injunction proceedings had been “rejected out of hand” by Oxigen.

In light of that refusal, a motion has been brought by his clients seeking to have the matter sent to mediation and that motion is listed before the court next month, counsel said.

In reply, Ronnie Hudson BL, for Oxigen, said his client was not prepared to go to mediation at this point of the proceedings but might be open to that at some future stage.

Counsel said Shane Byrne, a former Irish rugby international, was only seeking mediation because he was “a celebrity” and was only interested in his reputation.

It was not possible to go to mediation due to the involvement in the process of other parties including the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Revenue Commissioners and An Garda Siochana, he also said.

Mr Kean disputed that Oxigen could not enter mediation.

Counsel said Oxigen received an affidavit from the Byrnes last Friday and responded to that in an affidavit served on Monday last.

Oxigen was willing to adjourn the case to allow the auditors finish their work and the defendants to reply to Oxigen’s most recent affidavit, he said.

Ms Justice Reynolds agreed to adjourn the matter for a month to allow the auditors conclude their investigation.

The interim orders previously granted by the court, and undertakings given on behalf of the Byrnes, are to remain in place she said.