| 13.8°C Dublin

'None of allegations against us and our families were proven', says relieved Shane

Former rugby ace keen to move on after 'shadow' of court case lifted

Close

Share Byrne. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Share Byrne. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Share Byrne. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Former rugby international Shane Byrne has said he is "delighted" that High Court proceedings brought by waste management company Oxigen against him and his brother William have been struck out.

He said his family have reclaimed ownership of their business, AWD Waste Solutions, which was "never insolvent and is currently thriving".

For the past nine months, the co-directors had been engaged in what was described as a "bitter dispute" with waste disposal firm Oxigen over the operation of their company.

Mr Justice Michael Quinn was told yesterday that all matters had been resolved and the proceedings could be struck out.

Martin Hayden SC, with Ronnie Hudson BL for Oxigen, said the parties had engaged in discussions which were "fruitful".

Vindicated

Speaking after the decision, Shane Byrne told the Herald: "None of the allegations made against us and our families were ever proven or proceeded with in court and our position has been totally vindicated.

"Obviously, we are delighted that all the allegations made against us by Oxigen are not now proceeding as they have been struck out in the High Court."

The 48-year-old said the court case had been hugely stressful for him and his entire family as it had been "hanging over us" since last October.

"Myself and the family are absolutely delighted with the outcome and the settlement that's been agreed," he said.

"Obviously, there's a confidentiality agreement with the settlement, but we're very, very happy.

"We're touching on nine months now and it's been a very, very hard time for us all within the family and we're just absolutely thrilled.

"We've got our company back and we can now just move on and get on with running the business with a good successful company that it's always been."

The two parties began discussions late last month after the High Court heard the brothers were prepared to offer €1.5m to Oxigen for shares in the company.

Under an arrangement entered into eight years ago, the brothers, who were directors and have operated the company for many years, owned a 49pc shareholding in AWD while Oxigen held 51pc.

The dispute arose last year when Oxigen secured interim injunctions against the brothers over claims about the running of the company.

Covering Wicklow and the south-east, the Wexford-based firm employs 22 people and is involved in a range of services including wheelie bin collection, skip hire and hazardous waste management.

However, the former sports star said it had become "very hard" simply concentrating on running the day-to-day business with the High Court case constantly looming in the background.

"You're always thinking about the next step along the path of the High Court case," he said.

"It's something that constantly hangs over you and there's always the worry of what you're putting your family through, your kids.

"Myself and my brother have two daughters each and it does affect everybody and also parents and friends.

"The ripple effect coming out of it is huge, there's a massive, massive wave of relief that we're all feeling now.

"We were absolutely and vehemently defending every statement that was made against us.

"We've got to the stage now where we have our company back, all the cases have been struck out as part of the settlement. That's a fantastic place to be."

He said yesterday's outcome was "wonderful for their employees' morale".

"Any shadow that had been hanging over the operations of the company is now gone," he said.

Satisfactory

"During this time, we're an essential service and we have to keep everyone going, but to have this hanging over us, we know the guys and girls, it has been on their minds.

"Clearly, it's just nice to get to the scenario now where we can move on."

He thanked his solicitor Gerald Kean and lead counsel Richard Kean SC for bringing the matter to a "most satisfactory conclusion".

He also said they have been fortunate that business has been booming during the lockdown.

It is clear from the huge volume of waste being produced that many homeowners are ignoring the advice of Health Minister Simon Harris and are using the time to "dickie-up" their homes.

"People are obviously at home and there's lots more waste being produced," Mr Byrne said.

"There's clearly a lot of families getting a lot of domestic jobs done because the skips have been flying out the door and we're delighted to be part of that."

Fantastic

Looking to the future, he added: "We can move on, which is fantastic. The head goes down and you've got to keep at it and I'm looking forward to getting on with it."

From Co Wicklow, the former Leinster and Ireland player retired from professional rugby in 2007 and has now gone on to sports punditry in addition to taking part in several TV shows.

His career highlights include winning the Triple Crown in 2004, scoring two tries in a memorable match against Wales and taking part in the New Zealand Lions Tour in 2005.

He married wife Caroline in 2001 and they have twin daughters Alex and Kerry.

Oxigen was contacted for a comment about the case.