Probation Act applied to forecourt retailer over six undocumented staff

Judge Anthony Halpin accepted the offence occurred due to a systems error that has since been corrected

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1 March 2022 | 0

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Petrogas Group Ltd, trading as Applegreen, has pleaded guilty to six offences under the Employment Permits Act in relation to staff who were not legally entitled to work in the Republic of Ireland.

The group was subsequently spared convictions and avoided up to €24,000 in fines which could potentially have been handed out for employing six staff members without valid permits to work here.

A Workplace Relations Commission inspector checked employment records at the group’s head office in March 2019, the Dublin District Court heard.

It was accepted that the group co-operated and provided all records for inspection. Out of a total of 2,700 staff, 129 were not EU nationals and six did not hold a permit to work in the State.

Most of the six employees had been previously allowed to work in Ireland but their permits had expired – by more than three years for two individuals.

With no prior convictions, the defence said that the company had changed its procedures. The court was informed that managers of its 124 outlets had undergone further training to ensure workers had current documentation.

Prosecution solicitor Edel Muldowney said the offence could lead to a fine of €4,000 per offence as well as the costs of the case.

However, the judge found that Applegreen had taken the case seriously. Evidence from the group’s head of HR outlined the changes introduced following the inspection.

The judge accepted the offence stemmed from a systems error that has since been corrected.

He applied the Probation of Offenders Act on Monday and noted the firm had complied with his order four weeks ago to pay €1,000 towards prosecution costs and the same amount to the Little Flower Penny Dinner Charity, which helps underprivileged people in the Liberties in Dublin.

 

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