Judge O’Donnell said he was “very unhappy” about a number of aspects of the case
THE directors of a scaffolding business which breached pensions legislation — resulting in the family of a deceased employee missing out on a €76,000 payout — have successfully appealed the imposition of prison sentences.
In 2014, Gerry Neilon, aged 50, of Newtown, Pallasgreen and his brother Raymond Neilon, aged 49, of Commonline, Cappawhite, County Tipperary were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment after they were prosecuted by the Pensions Board in the District Court.
Suspending the prison sentences, Judge Tom O’Donnell said that the family of the employee, who died violently, deserve “enormous credit” after he was told they did not want to see anybody go to prison.
Yesterday, solicitor Julieanne Kiely, representing the Pensions Board, said just €6,850 had been paid by the defendants to the family of the deceased man since the appeal proceedings were initiated.
Prior to his death in 2007, the deceased man had pension contributions deducted from his salary but these were not “remitted to the scheme” by the company.
Laurence Goucher BL, representing Gerry Neilon, said his client is “doing his best” to pay compensation but has not been able to secure work in recent times.
“There is no question of him trying to dodge this,” he said, adding that High Court proceedings have been initiated which, if successful, will see furher monies being paid over.
Sinead Garry BL, representing Raymond Neilon, said her client had been “somewhat naive” and was not involved in the day-to-day running of the company.
She added that he has suffered from ill-health in recent times and is not in a position to pay compensation.
Solicitor Darach McCarthy said the family of the deceased man, who had four children, were “quite upset” over the non-payment of the monies but he said they were “not too enthusiastic about a custodial sentence”.
Judge O’Donnell said he was “very unhappy” about a number of aspects of the case, which has been before the court more than a dozen times since 2014.
He commented it was “grossly unfair” on the dependants of the deceased man that they were at the loss of substantial monies “through criminality”.
However, noting their attitude he suspended the prison sentences for two years.
Noting that the outstanding monies are unlikely to be repaid in full, the judge ordered that a further €3,150 in compensation be paid within a year.