Limerick man ‘devastated’ by phone remarks to TD

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

A COUNTY Limerick man who was described by the head of an engineering company he had worked for as “a Sinn Féin f***er, sympathiser and troublesome employee,” says the €5,000 he is to receive as compensation is not adequate considering the reputational damage he could suffer as a result of the remarks.

A COUNTY Limerick man who was described by the head of an engineering company he had worked for as “a Sinn Féin f***er, sympathiser and troublesome employee,” says the €5,000 he is to receive as compensation is not adequate considering the reputational damage he could suffer as a result of the remarks.

Liam Moloney, 63, of Ballyhoura Heights, Kilfinane says he was “absolutely devastated” when Limerick TD Niall Collins relayed to him a conversation he had with Barry English, CEO of Winthrop Engineering Ltd, his former employer.

Mr English was one of a number of Fianna Fáil supporters who gave former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern “a dig-out” at the time of his marriage breakdown.

At a Circuit Court hearing in Dublin this week, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, president of the Circuit Court, told Mr English to pay Mr Moloney €5,000 compensation for defamation of character relating to remarks Mr English made on the telephone to TD Niall Collins.

“Five thousand is small in this day and age for the hurt and damage to a man’s character,” Mr Moloney told the Limerick Leader this Wednesday.

The hearing heard that Mr Moloney who is an uncle of Kilmallock area councillor, and Limerick hurler, David Moloney, had been made redundant in August 2008 and had taken issue with the company through the Labour Court, which recommended he be paid redundancy. When he had not been paid, he had gone to Deputy Collins.

Deputy Collins said Mr Moloney had asked him to make representations about payment of the Labour Court recommendation, to Mr English. He had written to him and later they had spoken on the phone when the comments were made.

“I would understand sympathiser to mean somebody who was sympathetic to the IRA and I would be very concerned about that,” said Deputy Collins at Monday’s hearing.

Speaking to the Leader this week, Deputy Collins said he did not know Mr Moloney prior to being asked to make representations on his behalf “but I have got to know him throughout this process and he is an honourable and decent man.”

“As far as I am concerned I was right to do what I did and I was right to stand by Liam. I wouldn’t let anybody down and not go the distance with them in a case as serious as this,” he added.

Mr English did not agree he had called Mr Moloney a troublesome Sinn Féin f***er.

“Here was this TD down in Limerick trying to interfere with my business.

“My attitude was: ‘How dare you. You have no right to tell me what to do.’ I gave him a piece of my mind,” said Mr English in court.

Speaking to the Leader, Mr Moloney said he was “anything but a troublesome employee”.

He said he was not just an electrician but was made charge hand before being appointed foreman and was involved in some of the biggest jobs that Winthrop in Waterford ever did.

He claims he is still owed €22,000 by the company.