Debenhams’ Irish Operation KPMG’s Joint Provisional Liquidators is seeking a High Court order alleging that any former employees and others at 11 stores across the country were operating illegally.
KPMG’s Kieran Wallace and Andrew O’Leary try to thwart their attempts to seize the company’s stock and other assets so that their value can be understood as part of the liquidation.
Linden McCann told SC court for liquidators that they had no choice but to come to court “reluctantly” as the situation at many stores was deteriorating – if they did not get the stock back, the creditors could recognize its value.
It said the liquidators’ application was based on illegal actions at Debenhams stores in the City Square shopping center in Waterford and Debenhams stores in the Mahon Point shopping center in Cork.
Defendants and anonymous defendants allege that they violated the Industrial Relations Act of 1990, alleging that they acted illegally in preventing entry into and out of shops, which is an illegal intervention in the liquidation.
Liquidators say there have been “numerous incidents” in the last few weeks of third parties, many of whom are unrecognizable because their faces are covered with masks, performing their duties with the liquidators and their staff.
They allege that the conduct of individuals engaged in illegal demonstrations in some or all of the Company’s stores is a serious impediment to the regular fallout of the Company’s activities – and that they are “strong in view” of the execution of the form of the demonstrations by some former employees and / or members of the public.
Liquidators say attempts by their representatives to persuade those involved to refrain from the illegal actions complained of have failed.
Mr. Wallace and Mr. O’Leary say that while some of those involved in the activities have been motivated by the Debenhams Group’s frustration and anger about their treatment, unfortunately the liquidators can do nothing to stop them from seeking a recurring claim of approximately m 13 million over the legal recurring right.
Wallace said in a lengthy affidavit that the industrial action backed by the Mandate Trade Union had “taken a worse form overall” in recent weeks.
However, it was agreed that mandate picketing, which represents 85% of workers, should be peaceful and does not support illegal industrial action.
Suggestions are being sought against three individuals named: Stephen Troy of Fairfield Close, Belvedere Manor, Co Waterford; Denise O’Brien of Sunrise Crescent, Co. Waterford, Co. Waterford, Carol Bridgeman of Meadow Park Lawn, Balivolan, Co. Cork.
Mr Troy and Mr O’Brien were involved in illegal activities at Debenhams’ Waterford store, including Miss Bridgeman, who had illegally accessed a store in Cork in early September and refused to go for several days.
Seeks suggestions against any individuals who work with them or have been notified of the application.
Justice Leoni Reynolds today filed a precedent (representing only one side) application for a restraining order. The matter will come up in court next Tuesday.
They ordered that the defendants be given letters of “termination and abandonment” before hearing that argument, and that the court be informed if the requested orders were complied with.
The judge also asked whether liquidators were aware of plans to protest in four courts next week.
McCann said they were likely to find out at last but would inform the court if they became aware of such plans.
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