Publishers seek to appeal EAT ruling on employee

Post Publications Limited, publishers of the Sunday Business Post, are seeking to appeal a decision of the Employment Appeals Tribunal that former treasurer Kieran Moloney was an employee of theirs.

The EAT made its decision after having heard a preliminary issue on whether Moloney was employed by Post Publications, Harcourt Street, Dublin; Thomas Crosbie Holdings, or Thomas Crosbie Printers (in liquidation), both of City Quarter, Lapp’s Quay, Cork.

A full appeal on the preliminary finding was to have gone ahead yesterday in the Circuit Civil Court, but barrister Patrick O’Reilly challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.

Mr O’Reilly, for Mr Moloney, of Betaghstown Woods, The Narrow Ways, Bettystown, Co Meath, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that having made its decision the EAT should then have put Mr Moloney’s claim of unfair dismissal back for a full hearing of the EAT.

He said while the Circuit Court could hear an appeal against an EAT decision on a full hearing of a claim, there was legal authority ruling out fragmentation of a hearing.

Marcus Dowling, counsel for Post Publications, said Thomas Crosbie Holdings (TCH) had been acquired out of examinership and the examiner, with the agreement of the High Court, had written down to zero Mr Moloney’s claim. Mr Moloney, he said, could not recover from TCH even if he succeeded in his claim.

The court then allowed Thomas Crosbie Holdings out of the case.

Mr Dowling said Thomas Crosbie Printers (TCP) was in liquidation and the official liquidator, Tom Kavanagh, was not going to pay any money to Mr Moloney in the liquidation.

The liquidator had decided not to oppose Mr Moloney’s claim on the basis there was no money to meet it and legal fees would be an unnecessary additional cost to the liquidation.

He said the only way Mr Moloney could recover compensation was through the Social Insurance Fund under which compensation was topped at 18 months pay at a maximum €600 a week (approximately €46,800).

Mr Dowling said Mr Moloney was attempting to fix his employers as Thomas Crosbie Printers, in which case he would be asking the court to quash the determination of the EAT that Post Publications Limited (PPL) were his employers.

Judge Linnane said a date would be fixed for a further hearing and asked both parties to submit affidavits outlining the background to the dispute, along with legal submissions on whether or not the court has jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

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