Tribunal awards wife of Breifne O’Brien €45k

The wife of rogue financier Breifne O’Brien has been awarded over €45,000 after being unfairly sacked from the Dublin taxi firm which the high-profile couple once owned.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled that Blackrock Cabs — now in liquidation — wrongly dismissed Fiona Nagle as chief executive in 2010.

Ms Nagle, a mother of five from Invergarry, Silchester Rd, Glenageary, Co Dublin, is the estranged wife of the Cork-born socialite and businessman exposed in 2008 as the operator of an alleged pyramid scheme.

It was estimated he misappropriated at least €15m of funds from investors in the scheme. Many of them had invested large sums of their personal savings. They included former schoolmates and some close personal friends such as his brother-in-law.

Mr O’Brien admitted he had been “living a lie” for up to 15 years over the manner in which he operated the investment scheme to fund his lavish lifestyle.

A High Court judge described the investors as “victims of a confidence trick that was not very sophisticated but highly successful”.

Ms Nagle, meanwhile, gained notoriety after she sought permission from the High Court to withdraw €4,000 per week from a bank account for her living needs.

The Dublin county sheriff, John Fitzpatrick, had the shareholding in Blackrock Cabs transferred to him by court order in 2009 after it was placed in liquidation.

Ms Nagle claimed she had a weekly wage of €436 at the time from Blackrock.

She told the tribunal she had started working with Blackrock in 2003 in relation to marketing, consultancy, and planning.

The job evolved and she took over as chief executive in 2008 due to “extenuating circumstances” — a reference to her husband’s difficulties.

Ms Nagle claimed the business was breaking even at the time. However, she was informed in Feb 2010 that Mr Fitzpatrick would be taking over the shares of the company.

Ms Nagle informed the sheriff she would be interested in running the business.

However, he told her that somebody else would be coming in to take on that task.

The following day, Ms Nagle was instructed to take her possessions and leave the premises.

As Ms Nagle’s application was uncontested, the tribunal ruled she was unfairly dismissed.

It awarded her compensation of €45,362.

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