Irish tycoon Dunne told cleaner he'd put her back on a bike, court told
Published 22/07/2011 | 09:03
Property mogul Sean Dunne told a former cleaner he would put her "back on a bicycle", a court in the Republic of Ireland heard yesterday.
Gina Farrell, who is being sued by Mr Dunne's company, claimed that he made the remarks after he went through messages on her phone during a meeting with him in April 2005.
Ms Farrell said she was invited to the meeting in order to discuss cleaning-service projects she was doing on behalf of his companies.
One of those, Hollybrook (Brighton Road) Management Co Ltd, is suing Ms Farrell, trading as Gina Farrell Cleaning Services, alleging that she overcharged Hollybrook for services provided between 2003 and 2006 at an apartment block at Brighton Road, Foxrock, Dublin.
She denies this and claims that Mr Dunne has a vendetta against her.
On the 12th day of the case yesterday, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy rejected objections from Hollybrook's counsel about questions from Ms Farrell's counsel over alleged interference with her phone. Counsel had insisted that these questions had no relevance to what was at issue in the case.
But the judge said Mr Dunne was a "main player" in the proceedings because one of his companies, registered in the Isle of Man, had underwritten what would be the "phenomenal" costs of this case.
Ms Farrell told the High Court that at the April 2005 meeting, Mr Dunne immediately started questioning her (Farrell) about when she had last spoken to Mr Dunne's wife Jennifer, from whom he had separated before marrying Gayle Killilea.
Ms Farrell had provided a cleaning service for the then Dunne family home in Foxrock but Mr Dunne told her at the meeting that she "could not work for Jennifer anymore because Gayle said women talk".
When Ms Farrell told him that the last time she had spoken to Jennifer was last year, he said he knew that she (Farrell) had been speaking to her the previous week.
He then demanded that she give him her phone, Ms Farrell said, which she did.
"He questioned me over a lot of things on my phone and he said, 'You and I are going to part company,'" she said.
Ms Farrell said he then told her: "You will never work again in this town and I will put you back on a bicycle.
"Power and money is what I have and I will put you back on a bicycle."
She said she told Mr Dunne he could not tell her who she could speak to and there followed a very heated conversation before she got up from her seat and told him: "Eaten bread is soon forgotten". She then left.
Ms Farrell said that she subsequently found out that Mr Dunne had been through her voice messages "while I was having a cup of tea" because the questions he had asked her could only have come from having heard those messages.
The following Saturday, she was carrying out her cleaning service duties at Mr Dunne's Merrion Square offices when she came across a note in his handwriting, detailing those voice messages.
She said she photocopied the note and went straight to gardai to make a complaint about this.
There was an investigation, but no prosecution.
Ms Farrell said she was later fired as provider of a cleaning service to two other apartment complexes built or co-built by Mr Dunne's companies.
She knew she was also going to lose the Brighton Road contract and she became very careful about all her dealings there.
Ms Farrell said she obtained diaries which had been kept by the concierge service at the complex, detailing when cleaners worked there, and she "tidied up" entries in them.
The hearing continues.
Source Irish Independent