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Limerick Woman's Nine-Year Struggle for Unpaid Wages Ends in Dismissal |

Limerick Woman’s Nine-Year Struggle for Unpaid Wages Ends in Dismissal

In a courtroom drama unfolding today at Nisi Prius, Mr Justice Dodd presided over the case of Flynn v. O’Meara, where Mary Flynn, a shop assistant, sought to recover £86 in wages allegedly owed to her for the years 1904-1913. The small town of Kilteely in County Limerick set the stage for this legal dispute. The plaintiff, represented by Mr M. J. Kenny, claimed the outstanding balance, while the defendant, Alice Teresa O’Meara, the widow of the deceased shopkeeper, was defended by Mr M. Comyn.

Mary Flynn, the plaintiff, recounted her entry into the employment of David O’Meara, the late husband of the defendant, in 1895. Initially earning £10 per annum, her salary was later increased to £14. Following Mr O’Meara’s death in 1904, his widow, Alice Teresa O’Meara, continued the business. Flynn claimed she worked until April 1913, producing an account detailing deductions, leaving the alleged balance due.

Under cross-examination, Flynn admitted to irregular salary payments, asserting control over the till and occasional withdrawals for personal expenses. She refuted any notion of being a family member and denied Mrs. O’Meara asking her to leave. While acknowledging debts in the business at Mr O’Meara’s death, she claimed ignorance of the amounts.

Mrs. O’Meara countered, revealing dire financial circumstances post her husband’s demise in 1904. She maintained Flynn was treated as family, enjoying control over the till. Although unable to afford regular wages, Mrs. O’Meara insisted Flynn could stay, asserting no agreement existed for payment. Their relationship soured in 1912 when, for the first time, Flynn requested money. In 1913, Flynn found alternative employment when a new business started in town, offering her the chance to earn some wages.

Supporting Mrs. O’Meara’s account, her daughter testified in court. Despite Mr Justice Dodd expressing sympathy for Flynn’s plight, he emphasized the necessity of establishing a contractual basis for the claim. Noting the absence of evidence supporting a contract, either explicit or implicit, he highlighted the admission that Mrs. O’Meara was not the personal representative of her deceased husband.

Acknowledging Flynn’s long and faithful service, Mr Justice Dodd lamented the lack of a fund from which to compensate her. He found it evident that Flynn had no expectation of regular remuneration beyond sporadic payments. Consequently, the judge dismissed the case, emphasizing the lack of costs against the plaintiff. Though justice might not be served in monetary terms, the proceedings underscored the complexities of employment relationships in small-town Ireland, shedding light on the challenges faced by individuals in pursuit of fair compensation.

Evening Herald (Dublin) – Friday 05 June 1914

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