Firm failed to put staff’s money into pension

A building firm has been spared a criminal conviction for taking money from workers’ wages but not putting it into their pension scheme.

Seabuild Ltd, based at Unidare Industrial Estate, Jamestown Rd, Finglas, Dublin, pleaded guilty before Judge John Brennan at Dublin District Court yesterday to five counts under Section 58-A of the Pensions Act.

The firm was prosecuted by the Pensions Authority after a whistleblower contacted the watchdog agency in 2014. The court heard that there were arrears of €13,776, but the company, which has no prior criminal convictions, was co-operative and had paid up before the summonses were issued.

Oisin Clarke, defending, told the court the firm has been in business for 35 years, but in 2008 and 2009 it got into difficulties and there was €300,000 in bad debts.

However, it traded its way through, said Mr Clarke. The firm previously employed 40 but now has 10 workers.

The judge said the charge can result in a fine of up to €5,000 but that was not mandatory. He said the offences were serious, but he noted the firm pleaded guilty and the arrangements it made prior to the summonses being issued. He found the facts proven, but dismissed the case. Charges against the directors were withdrawn.


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