Firms ordered to provide information about alleged cash demands from ESB employees to finish works

Judge satisfied of ‘clear proof of wrongdoing’ by persons other than four names put before court

3/1/2012.   - NEWS -
ESB workers repair some lines damaged by a fallen tree during stormy weather, on Nashville Road, Howth, Co. Dublin on Tuesday.
Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES 

Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill / THE IRISH TIMES

The High Court has ordered two companies to provide the ESB with certain information about several of its employees alleged to have demanded cash payments to complete electrical works near construction sites.

The ESB and its subsidiary, ESB Networks DAC, sought the orders directing Richmond Homes and Arkmount Construction, with registered addresses at Embassy House Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, to provide the plaintiffs with details about the alleged payments made to ESB employees.

In a judgment, Mr Justice Conor Dignam said the ESB was entitled to what are known as Norwich Pharmacal type orders against two related firms, requiring them to provide the names of all persons who are alleged to have demanded or received payments.

The court acknowledged that the firms had provided the ESB with the names of four persons alleged to have sought payments. The judge said he was satisfied that “clear proof of wrongdoing” by persons other than the four named had been put before the court.


The provision of the names of those other persons was, the judge said, “clearly necessary” and therefore the court was making orders that the names of all those alleged to have sought or received payments from the companies be disclosed to the plaintiffs.

The judge said the case involves “very grave” allegations about improper payments for the provision of what is a public utility. He also ordered that the date and amount of money allegedly paid also be disclosed to the ESB.

The court said it was not satisfied that the plaintiffs had established that disclosure of all of the other information that it had sought, other than date and time of the payments, was necessary.

The ESB’s application was made after the firms informed the plaintiff that its employees had sought payments from them for the completion of works at housing developments at Rush, Malahide and Baldoyle in north Co Dublin in May of last year. The allegations are the subject of a Garda investigation.

The application had been opposed by the firms on grounds including that they had already provided the ESB with a large amount of documentation in relation to the claim, and that the application to the court was disproportionate and unwarranted.

The ESB, represented by Marcus Dowling SC, with barrister Joe Jeffers, sought the information because it intends to take proceedings against the individuals alleged to have made the demands. The matter will return before the court at a later date when the court will make final orders, including orders concerning who should pay the costs of the proceedings.