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5 September 2016 Edition

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Close the Clerys loophole

Call for cross-party support to stop ‘tactical insolvencies’

• Sinn Féin's Martin Kenny and David Cullinane speak to reporters on the Protection of Employees Bill

‘We’ve had a lot of tea and sympathy from across the political divide since the Clerys debacle but we need action’ – David Cullinane TD

A DRAFT BILL aimed at protecting workers from so-called “tactical insolvencies” – as happened with Clerys department store in Dublin last year – has been published by Sinn Féin. 

In the case of Clerys, the company exploited a loophole that allowed the business to be split in two: the assets, such as the building and stock were owned by one company, while the staff  were employed by the other. Therefore, when Clerys went into liquidation the company could legally argue that it had no assets to give staff their entitlements.

Sinn Féin Workers’ Rights spokesperson David Cullinane TD said his new Protection of Employees (Collective Redundancies) Bill gives legislative support to key recommendations of the Duffy-Cahill Report which was commissioned in the wake of the Clerys closure and would ensure workers’ hard-earned pensions are protected.

Speaking to An Phoblacht at Leinster House, David Cullinane said:

“The Clerys workers were left high and dry. We in Sinn Féin have drafted a Bill and sent a copy to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. We’ve also sent a copy to all of the spokespersons for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation for each of the parties in Leinster House and Independent TDs. We want this Bill to be an all-party Bill. 

“We’ve had a lot of tea and sympathy from across the political divide since the Clerys debacle but we need action. 

“We know this tactical insolvency was wrong; it wasn’t illegal but it was wrong. There is a loophole in law and we want this dealt with as quickly as possible.”

The Waterford TD has called on TDs from all sides to support the Bill in principle and says Sinn Féin is happy for others to submit changes they feel are necessary:

“Others should work with us and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to ensure we deal with this issue once and for all, and that we prevent tactical insolvencies of the nature that we saw at Clerys from happening in the future.”

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An Phoblacht
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