Shannon Foynes Port Company Pay Damages and Costs

THE troubled Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC), which will have to pay out hundreds of thousands of euro in damages and costs arising from a recent High Court settlement now faces another court battle. 

Former SFPC non-executive director, Morgan Leahy, who recently settled a damages action against the firm, has initiated new High Court proceedings claiming SFPC has breached terms of its settlement.

A statement of claim has been lodged by the legal firm Arthur Cox & Co on behalf of Mr Leahy naming SFPC as defendants.

Mr Leahy a company executive of Ahane Road, Lisnagry, Co Limerick had jointly sued SFPC with former chief executive Brian Byrne. As part of that settlement Mr Byrne received damages in excess of €500,000 and Mr Leahy received €50,000 which he donated to Milford Hospice.

In documents lodged in the High Court in recent days, Mr Leahy claims the SFPC has breached the settlement agreement.

In his statement of claim, Mr Leahy states: “It was a condition to the said agreement that certain undertakings and letters would be executed by various persons who had an involvement in the disputes that gave rise to the proceedings.”

Mr Leahy claims that as part of the compromise of the earlier proceedings, Brian Cosgrave, who had made allegations against the plaintiff, furnished the following undertaking: “I hereby undertake that I will withdraw the complaint and allegations made on the in August 2006 and more particularly contained in writing of the 18th of October 2006 and made against Brian Byrne and Morgan Leahy and furnished to the company and in order to facilitate the company in resolving the above entitled proceedings. Brian Cosgrave undertakes that he shall not re-ventilate or repeat the complaints and allegations referred to therein.”

The plaintiffs responded: “In consideration of the withdrawal by Brian Cosgrave of allegations and complaints … concerning us, [we] hereby waive, release and abandon any claim which we may have against Brian Cosgrave and Brian Cosgrave Transport (Limited) in respect of his having made the said allegations and complaints.”

In his statement of claim to the High Court, Mr Leahy claims that wrongfully — and in breach of the terms of the earlier agreement and in breach of representations, the defendant — SFPC furnished Mr Brian Cosgrave with a letter which included the following text: “On behalf of Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC), I should like to formally and sincerely apologise to you for all and any wrongs, details of which are the subject of allegations made to SFPC by you, which you have suffered at the hands of the port, as directors and employees.”

Mr Leahy claims the existence of substance of this SFPC letter was not disclosed to him and had he been aware of the terms of the letter he would not have agreed to compromise the earlier proceedings.

In his statement of claim, he states: “By reason of the matters aforesaid the plaintiff has suffered loss and damage and in particular has been deprived of the opportunity of vindicating his reputation as aforesaid and has been brought into odium ridicule and contempt.” Mr Leahy is claiming damages for breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation, plus interest and costs.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Wednesday, April 30, 2008. By Jimmy Woulfe, Mid-West Correspondent

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