herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

'Firms' funds used to pay for wedding'

Case: Accountant sues €10m libel winner for wrongful dismissal

A COMPANY, whose chairman is €10m libel award winner Donal Kinsella, is being sued by one of its accounting employees claiming wrongful dismissal because she allegedly questioned transactions by the firm's managing director, Mr Kinsella's daughter, Dearbhla.

These transactions included the alleged use of €3,000 of company funds towards Ms Kinsella's wedding reception and £15,000 (€17,900) for Mr Kinsella's legal advisors in a dispute with mining company Kenmare Resources, against which the €10m award was made in November 2010.

It was the highest ever libel award and arose out of a Kenmare press release relating to an incident during a company trip to Mozambique in 2007 when Mr Kinsella (69), a former deputy chairman of Kenmare, was sleep-walking naked.

The High Court heard yesterday that Mr Kinsella was also chairman of a company called Trimproof Ltd, of Trim, Co Meath, and he controlled it along with his daughter Dearbhla Kinsella, its managing director, and with his son Dan Kinsella, a management employee.

The company, which supplies industrial upholstery and vinyl fabrics, is being sued by accountant Deborah Murray who claims she was unlawfully dismissed.

Ms Murray, of Castlerickard, Longwood, Co Meath, is seeking a declaration that the purported decision by Trimproof to dismiss her on October 28, 2008, was perverse, discriminatory, unfair and motivated by malice.

She is also seeking a declaration that she was constructively dismissed along with damages for breach of contract.

Trimproof denies the claims.

Yesterday, Mr Justice John Hedigan granted Ms Murray orders requiring Trimproof to disclose to her a number of documents she says she requires from the company to progress her case. Trimproof opposed the application.



query

Sean O'Siothchain, for Ms Murray, said it was his client's case that she was dismissed because she had professional misgivings and because she had occasion to query the provenance and propriety of certain payments and events.

These included expressing concern to Ms Kinsella, on October 3, 2007, that her brother Dan's pay structure would attract tax liability by way of benefit-in-kind.

Following this, and other matters, Ms Murray says she was shunned and treated with suspicion by management.

hnews@herald.ie

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