High Court hears Henchy cattle claims

The former chief executive of Dairygold has told the court that in order to pay the outstanding balance on his Dairygold farming account in December 2007 he would have had to sell some of his cattle.

Businessman Jerry Henchy (48) from Kilmallock, Co Limerick told counsel for Dairygold, Paul Gardiner SC, that he would not have had the “ready money” to settle the €100,000 balance on his overdue account unless he had sold cattle or vehicles on his 90-acre farm.

Henchy told the court that he had made considerable investment on capital projects at the farm that he had bought in 2006. He explained that he had bought the farm in two lots as there was a right of way owned by another seller in the middle of the land he was considering. He had previously told the court the land had needed drainage and out buildings built.

The father of two is suing his former employers for €8m in damages arising from his dismissal for “spurious reasons” to do with alleged financial irregularities with his farm account. He is also suing the cooperative for defamation over articles, which appeared in the national and international press subsequently. Dairygold contests all counts.

Henchy had previously told the court that he had taken out a loan of around €1m to purchase the farm. He was paying back this money and the mortgage on his family home out of his €600,000 salary. He was unable to tell Gardiner whether he had made a binding commitment with this bank to pay off €180,000 per annum on either loan.

The matter arises due to Dairygold’s assertion that Henchy had claimed to unable to pay off his farm account in full at key points during 2007 and 2008. Henchy has told the court that he could have made the payment but was distracted from his personal finances due to the many stresses that hit the business during the downturn of the economy in 2008.

Henchy was unable to go into detail about his personal finances so the court has adjourned for the weekend to allow him to consult his financial records.

The case continues next week at the Four Courts in Dublin before Mr Justice Daniel Herbert.

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