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Clerys workers are victims of Labour's duplicity – Tóibín

9 July, 2015

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Peadar Tóibín TD today criticised the duplicity of the Labour Party whose Ministers sympathise aloud with Clerys workers, yet have done absolutely nothing to tackle the deficiencies in the existing legislative framework that has left these workers high and dry. 

Addressing Tánaiste Joan Burton in Leader’s Questions today, Deputy Tóibín said:

“Labour's Chief Whip Deputy Stagg is absolutely right when he disagrees with the Tánaiste’s argument that cutting the income of lone parents will get them out of a poverty trap. What is two-faced about his actions is that he expresses this view locally, but then whips all his Labour colleagues to vote in favour of a deep cut to those in poverty.

“Duplicity can also be seen in the Clerys debacle. It’s nearly one month since the staff and concession holders of Clerys were turfed out onto the street by liquidators.  All they have received from Labour Party so far is a two faced response.  Both the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach described the actions Clerys new owners as absolutely despicable, insensitive and appalling. The Tánaiste even borrowed a phrase from the failed British Labour leader Ed Miliband by describing Natrium’s actions as ‘predatory capitalism’. 

“Contrast this with the other face of the Labour party; the Minister for Inertia Ged Nash earlier this week published his report on the sale and liquidation of Clerys. The report details a text book tactical insolvency delivered with merciless precision. Yet astoundingly he went on to tell us that there are no deficiencies in the existing legislative framework.

“Gordon Brothers reportedly walked away from Clerys sale with about €15 million, and Natrium has bought a prime development opportunity worth multiples of what they’ve invested, and still Minister Nash is satisfied that under company law neither company is required to cough up the employees’ entitlements in full or the monies owed to the concession holders. 

“Does the Tánaiste support her Junior Ministers position? There is clearly a flaw in the existing company law framework. Sinn Féin has introduced legislation to address tactical insolvencies based on multiple companies’ set-ups where assets are hived off from the rest of the business. Not only has Labour not supported our solution to the problem, they are denying the problem even exists.” 

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