The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection has started a High Court challenge to a District Court judge's dismissal of charges against parties involved in the 2015 closure of the Clerys department store.
The defendants in the original District Court case were businesswoman Deirdre Foley, Mark Redmond of Belfry Dale, in Saggart, Co Dublin, and the previous owners of Clerys OCS Operations.
They had been charged with offences contrary to provisions of the 1977-2014 Protection of Employment Act arising out of the closure of Clerys in June 2015 when 460 people lost their jobs.
134 of those workers were direct employees of OCS Operations, while the remainder were employed in concessions within the store.
During the District Court proceedings, Ms Foley, Mr Redmond and the company's legal teams had applied to have the charges struck out on the grounds they could not get a fair trial without being provided with certain material from the inspectors appointed by the Labour Court to look into the redundancies at Clerys.
In March 2018, Judge John Brennan decided to strike out charges against the parties on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to comply with a disclosure order.
He ruled that any further adjournment would encroach on the defendants' rights to fair procedures and an expeditious trial.
In today's High Court action against Ms Foley, Mr Redmond and OCS Operations Ltd, the Minister, represented by Padraig O'Dwyer SC and Breffni Gordon BL is seeking to quash the District Court order dismissing the charges.
She 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 Minister also argues that the striking out order was wholly disproportionate and unjust having regard to all the circumstances of the case – and that the duty to make disclosure has been fully discharged.
The action is opposed by Ms Foley and Mr Redmond, represented by Remy Farrell SC, and by the company represented by Brendan Grehan SC.
The case briefly opened before Mr Justice Charles Meenan this morning.
Given the volume of legal documents, the judge said he would read them in chambers and adjourned the matter to Wednesday.
He agreed with counsel this would reduce the time it would take to hear the action, expected to last between three to five days.