Dáil Éireann - Volume 628 - 30 November, 2006
Written Answers. - Industrial Disputes.
Mr. Quinn Mr. Quinn
Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his attention has been drawn to an ongoing dispute between a company (details supplied) and its former employees represented by SIPTU regarding the non-payment of moneys due arising from a Labour Court recommendation; if it is his understanding that the company’s assets are adequate to cover the cost of the award, as in their submission to the Labour Court they did not plead inability to pay, and further that the company was in receipt over time of various grants and financial assistance from State agencies; if he will instruct those agencies to take whatever legal steps are necessary to prevent the directors of the company of disposing directly or indirectly of their property assets in a manner that would result in the State agency failing to receive a full return of taxpayers’ moneys due from the sale of such assets at below market value; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40954/06]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Mr. Martin: Statutory redundancy has  been paid to the workers in the factory named by the Deputy. Ex gratia payments are a matter of negotiation between the company concerned and the workers, represented in this case by SIPTU. The Labour Court operates as an industrial relations tribunal, hearing both sides in a trade dispute. It then issues recommendations setting out its opinion on the dispute and the terms on which it considers the dispute should be settled. Responsibility for the settlement of a dispute ultimately rests with the parties themselves.
Grant agreements between Enterprise Ireland and companies are a matter for those parties and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment does not have a direct function in this area.
I am advised that the company in question has been paid a total of €1.368m in supports by Enterprise Ireland since 1986. All funding provided by Enterprise Ireland is subject to a legal grant agreement between the company and Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland grant aided companies must meet the obligations to creditors and employees in the event of closure or liquidation.
When Enterprise Ireland funded companies cease manufacturing, close or liquidate and there are still contingent liabilities outstanding on the grants paid to the companies, the liabilities crystalise. In these circumstances, it is Enterprise Ireland’s policy to seek revocation of grant monies paid. If there are sufficient assets available to repay secured and unsecured creditors, Enterprise Ireland expects to be treated in the same way as the latter. In terms of preference share investment, this is recovered after named creditors and before ordinary shareholders.
An offer of repayment of the preference shares has been made to Enterprise Ireland and is currently being considered by the agency. Issues remain regarding grant repayments and convertible preference shares which will be considered in the light of up-to-date accounts sought and yet to be furnished by the company.
Dáil Éireann 628 Written Answers. Industrial Disputes.