By Tom Tuite
A Dublin supermarket has been ordered to pay €750 to charity to avoid a conviction and a larger fine for hiring a foreign employee who did not have a permit to work in Ireland.
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) prosecuted the St Mary’s Supermarket, trading as Gala, at Collins Avenue, Whitehall Dublin, after an inspector visited the premisses on two dates last year.
The supermarket pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to one charge under the Employment Permits Act which can result in a conviction as well as fine of up to €4,000. The WRC did not proceed with a second charge which was withdrawn.
WRC inspector Caroline Halpin agreed with prosecuting solicitor Edel Muldowney that on October 12, 2017 she visited the premises where one member of staff, an Indian national, was working on the shop floor.
She left her card for the manager to contact her and on November 3 last the director of the supermarket agreed to forward her documentation.
The employee had a “stamp three” status, however, that did not grant him permission to work in the State, the inspector said.
She told the court that on November 7 last she went back there to return the documents and the same employee was still working in the supermarket. She then wrote to the company to inform it of a breach of the employment permit legislation.
She agreed with defence counsel Patrick Jackson that the firm was polite and mannerly.
Judge John Cheatle noted the firm had no prior convictions.
Pleading for leniency, Mr Jackson asked the court to note three directors from the supermarket had come to court. He said they too were Indian nationals but two of them had become Irish citizens.
Counsel said he had explained to them the legal requirements which they had not known.
Mr Jackson said they were apologetic and asked the judge to note the business was not making a “raging income”.
Judge Cheatle noted the firm’s previous good character and the co-operation of its directors.
He said he was minded to apply the Probation Act, sparing the business a recorded conviction, if there was a donation of €750 to the Grace O'Malley Foundation, a charity helping elderly people.
The case was adjourned until a date in October.