THE mother of a Limerick man stabbed to death in 2007 has spoken of the â€œdouble impactâ€ the family felt on learning his dependents were not entitled to a â‚¬76,000 payout from his pension fund.
Gerry Neilon, of Newtown, Pallasgreen, a director of the scaffolding company which employed the late Patrick Coleman, was sentenced to six months in prison at Limerick District Court on Friday for breaching pensions legislation.
Mr Coleman, a 33-year-old father-of-four, was stabbed to death in Southill as he walked home from the pub after watching Limerick play Kilkenny in the All-Ireland Final of September 2, 2007.
His mother Gemma Coleman referring to her grandchildren - now aged 11 and 13 - said: â€œAs a result of this, they have just been left high and dry. I donâ€™t know how any employer can do that,â€ she told Live 95fm.
She said the â‚¬76,000 payout would have provided for educational supports for her two children, still living in Limerick.
â€œWhen you think the Dad was providing for the children, at the end of the day, this is gone, wiped away Where is the void? Who is going to fill the void? That money would have gone to educational activities, the basic things children need: food, clothing and activities.â€
Company directors Gerry and Raymond Neilon and their firm, Gerry Neilon Scaffolding Limited, were prosecuted by the Irish Pensions Board for failing to reply to a statutory request for information from the board on their contributions to the pension scheme.
Madeleine Delaney, solicitor, said the Irish Pensions Board had received allegations that the company had been making deductions from their employees wages but not paying these into the scheme.
â€œDeductions, as far as we can tell because no documentation was furnished by the company following our request, were taken and not paid into the scheme which is why when the employee died in September 2007, his dependants were not entitled to the â‚¬76,000 death-in-service benefit,â€ she stated.
John Devane, for Gerry Neilon, told the judge that the company had furnished â€œmonthly cheques to an accountant to pay the money over to the pension schemeâ€.That the accountant had not done so was now the subject of a negligence case in the High Court, Mr Devane said.
Ms Delaney objected that the company had been â€œgiven ample opportunity to furnish copies of cheques and so on to the boardâ€ but that â€œto this very dayâ€ the standard information had not been forthcoming. The court heard that the company was still registered but had ceased trading out. Neilan was out of work.
Judge McCarthy gave the director credit for pleading guilty to the offence but commented that it was a â€œvery serious matterâ€ in that Mr Colemanâ€™s dependents, who were entitled to â‚¬76,000 â€œhad instead got nothingâ€.
Gerry Neilon was sentenced to six months in prison with recognisances set at â‚¬300 in the event of an appeal.
The company was fined â‚¬5,000 with three months to pay. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Raymond Neilon, of Cappawhite, County Tipperary, after he failed to appear in court