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Company Law.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 17 May 2006

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Questions (93)

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

138 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his attention has been drawn to the recent liquidation of a construction firm (details supplied) who transferred its contracts of employment and commercial contracts to a sister company notwithstanding the fact that substantial sums of money were owed to the Revenue Commissioners, the Construction Industry Pension Fund and the employees; if he has satisfied himself that the provisions of company law were properly upheld; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18205/06]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment)

The main company law provisions in Ireland dealing with companies which fail and whose owners re-engage in trading under a new name are addressed under the Companies Acts 1963 to 2005 and in particular under the provisions of the Company Law Enforcement Act 2001.

Under the provisions of section 56 of the Company Law Enforcement Act 2001, liquidators of insolvent companies are required to submit a report to the Director of Corporate Enforcement within 6 months of their appointment. The liquidator of this company was appointed at a creditors' meeting on the 16th March 2006. Therefore the liquidator has, in this instance, until the 16th September 2006 to submit this report. The liquidator's report should outline the circumstances of the insolvency and address whether the directors acted honestly and responsibly in relation to the conduct of the company's affairs. The liquidator would normally address the type of allegations made by the Deputy. Liquidators are further obliged to bring High Court proceedings for the restriction of such directors unless relieved of that obligation by the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

In accordance with section 299 of the Companies Act, 1963, as amended, if it appears to a liquidator that any past officer or any member of the company has been guilty of any offence in relation to the company for which he is criminally liable, the liquidator is obliged to report the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions and to refer the matter to the Director of Corporate Enforcement. The Director of Corporate Enforcement has the power to bring any other prosecution for breaches of the Companies Acts as deemed appropriate in any individual case.

With regard to sums of money owed to the Revenue Commissioners, I have been informed that a revenue official attended the creditors meeting of PSK Construction Ltd. on 16th March at which the Liquidator for the company was appointed. A committee of inspection was formed and an official from the Revenue Commissioners was appointed to the committee to monitor progress with regard to the liquidation.

With regard to sums of money owed to the employees of this company, a number of claims for unpaid entitlements have been certified by the liquidator and submitted to the Insolvency Payments Section of my Department, where they are currently being considered under the Insolvency Payments Scheme. The Scheme provides protection for employees' entitlements, such as arrears of wages, holiday pay, pay in lieu of notice and certain unpaid pension scheme contributions, where they lose their jobs due to the insolvency and liquidation of their employer. Claims for entitlements are made through and certified by the liquidator, and payments are made from the Social Insurance Fund. Employees' claims against the assets of the employer in relation to entitlements paid under the Scheme are transferred to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, who is then included in the distribution of assets by the liquidator on the winding up of a company.

With regard to sums of money owed to the Construction Federation — Operatives Pension Scheme, this organisation has been in contact with the liquidator appointed to the construction firm and is awaiting a report from the liquidator in this regard.

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