A painting contractor, in court this week (March 24 ) for failing to pay €45,000 into an employee pension scheme ordered by the Labour Court in October 2008, was given until July 21 to come up with the money after the court heard the downturn had left him still owed “€700,000”.
Paddy Mulligan (48 ) of College Park, Athlone was originally ordered to pay €89,000, but the court was told by a Mr Terry McEvoy from the Construction Industry Monitoring Agency (CIMA ), a joint TUI/IBEC body set up in 1987 to monitor employee rights, that this had been negotiated down to €45,000 after a number of other employees had been errantly included in the first estimation.
His solicitor, Mr Dara Hayden, told the court no payments had been made yet as he was not fully aware of his obligations as an employer.
“My client had a very successful painting and decorating business with a number of employees,” he said.
“However, since the downturn he has been left being owed €700,000.”
Mr Hayden told the court Mulligan was married with five children, was back working for himself, and was seeking a three month adjournment “to agree a repayment plan”.
“The €45,000 figure was only fixed on March 15,” said Mr Hayden, who told the judge he was aware the fine for this particular offence was €3,000, with a €1,000 penalty per day late after that.
“It’s not clear to me what would be the competence of the defendant to fully dispose of this debt,” said Judge John Neilan.
Mr Hayden assured the judge his client was willing to show the Department of Finance a statement of means, and will have “more detailed figures in three months time”.
He told the court his client’s outstanding debt of €700,000 was unlikely to be recovered.
Judge Neilan convicted Mulligan and adjourned sentencing until July 21.