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03 Dec 2021

MD of Hillstreet Quarries in Arigna challenges employers alleged decision to cut salary

Ex-lovers row over horse worth an estimated €4m comes before High Court

The Managing Director of a quarrying business has launched a High Court action seeking to reverse what he claims is his employer's unilateral and unlawful decision to cut his salary from €236,000 to €94,600.

The action has been brought by Denis Flynn who, the Court heard is a 50% shareholder as well as the MD of Hillstreet Quarries Ltd (HSQ) whose business interests include the operation of a quarry on lands on the border between counties Roscommon and Sligo, near the village of Arigna.

He claims that the company, whose other shareholder is well-known businessman and his cousin Joseph Murphy, unilaterally reduced his salary last July. He claims the company's actions against him are unlawful.

He claims that the salary reduction came about as part of a campaign of bullying and harassment against him by Mr Murphy and the board of HSQ, a firm set up in 1993 by Mr Flynn and Mr Murphy.

In his action Mr Flynn claims Mr Murphy has a personal animus against him and is trying to force the sale of the company. He also claims that HSQ's directors and Mr Murphy's actions against him are humiliating and damaging him.

Mr Flynn, who is currently on sick leave, also claims that the company limited his sick pay, and demanded the return of the company jeep, and monies he was paid after his salary was increased in May 2020. 

In his action Mr Flynn of Cnoc Na Si, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim seeks injunctions restoring his salary to the level it was prior to the reduction he claims was imposed by the company last July.

He also seeks an order directing Hillstreet Quarries to pay him sick pay based on his salary prior to the allegedly imposed reduction, until such time as he is certified as being medically fit to return to work.

Represented by Alex White SC, Mr Flynn claims that following the economic crash in 2008 his client agreed to reduce his salary on several occasions. 

He had been earning €127,000 per year up until 2009. However, he claims his salary was kept below that figure until it was increased in 2020.

He claims that the increase was to reflect his position and role within the company and was long overdue.  

The board objected to the increase and claimed that it was not the subject of a board resolution, he claims.

He claims that salary increase and decreases of other persons working for HSQ were never the subject of board approval and no complaint had been made against his decision to increase the salaries of other directors of the board.

No complaint, nor any resolution was ever passed or made by the board about his decisions to reduce his salary between 2010 and 2020, he added.

The matter came before Mr Justice Senan Allen today, Tuesday, who on an ex-parte basis granted Mr Flynn permission to serve short notice of the injunction proceedings on the company.

The judge made the matter returnable to a date next month.

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