Former K Club manager says man who threatened him was messenger of Dr Michael Smurfit

A former K Club manager has claimed before the High Court court the man who allegedly threatened him at Punchestown Races was "the messenger of Dr Michael Smurfit."

Former K Club manager says man who threatened him was messenger of Dr Michael Smurfit

By Ann O'Loughlin

A former K Club manager has claimed before the High Court court the man who allegedly threatened him at Punchestown Races was "the messenger of Dr Michael Smurfit."

Peter Curran said after the encounter in the toilets of Punchestown races when he claims his way was blocked by the K Club employee he went into meltdown.

The former K Club catering manager was giving evidence on the third day of his action against his former employer the K Club Ltd, Straffan, Co Kildare. Dr Michael Smurfit and K Club resort superintendent Gerry Byrne.

Mr Curran has claimed on May 7, 2011, his way was blocked in the toilets at Punchestown Races and Mr Gerry Byrne allegedly said "Dr Smurfit has not forgotten the statements about him and the call girls.

Dr Smurfit knows where to find you and this is not over."

The defendants have denied all claims.

Mr Byrne's Counsel Bernard McDonagh SC told the court that Gerry Byrne will say he did not see Mr Curran at the races , did not have a conversation with him and never blocked his way coming out of the toilets.

Peter Curran in his legal action has claimed the alleged motive behind the encounter with the K-Club resort superintendent Gerry Byrne in 2011 was a reference to another case he had previously settled relating to his K Club employment in which he referred in a document to call girls being given free use of the hotel facilities at the K Club.

Mr Curran was catering manager at the K Club between September 1997 and October 1998 when he claims he was forced to leave and later brought an unfair dismissal case which was settled in March 1999.

Mr Curran later brought High Court proceedings claiming alleged breach to his constitutional right to his good name and to earn a livelihood.

During the run-up to that case in replies to written questions and particulars, relating to alleged financial irregularities he had allegedly uncovered at the K Club, Mr Curran made reference to call girls, sometimes sourced abroad, were given free use of the hotel facilities at the K Club.

Those High Court proceedings were settled in 2008 and it is claimed it was an implied term of the agreement Mr Curran would not be threatened, harassed or intimidated in any manner.

Today, during cross-examination Mr McDonagh SC put it to Mr Curran Mr Byrne will say he is is very upset by the "scandalous allegations".

Mr Curran replied "I don't blame him for being upset. He was the messenger for Dr Smurfit. You don't follow instructions you get fired.".

The words, he said which Mr Byrne used "could only come from Michael Smurfit."

Gerry Byrne, he added should not have confronted him but he said Mr Byrne "was carrying out the instructions of Dr Smurfit."

He said he will call a witness who will say he recognised Mr Byrne at the races.

Asked about the alleged encounter, Mr Curran said Mr Byrne used a medium tone. "The demand was given he was making sure it was delivered," he added,

Asked why he had gone to Punchestown where he was likely to run into Smurfit personnel, Mr Curran said he was invited and he felt he would have "safety in numbers.".

The case before Mr Justice Anthony Barr continues on Tuesday.

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