Leanne McDowell was unfairly dismissed in 2009, won her case and a ruling of €50,000 was awarded her way. Jay Bourke is the restauranteur who hired and fired her but his company was liquidated and she’ll never see the money.
Leanne moved from one Burke business to another and worked fiercely hard before taking two sick days from Shebeen Chic (the bar/restaurant which featured in rabble previously here). She was summarily fired and subsequently went to the Employment Appeals Tribunal claiming unfair dismissal. Mr. Bourke did not attend the tribunal and damages of €50,000 were awarded to Ms McDowell but as the company operating Shebeen was wound up she will never see the money. Mr. Bourke has previously won 3 and lost 1 hearings at the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
The group ‘Unfinished Business’ joined Justice for Leanne yesterday (Saturday 25th May ’13) to protest outside NEDE, the restaurant formerly run as EDEN by Mr.Bourke – they claim there will be no peace until there is justice for Leanne McDowell and use their protest to highlight the business’ treatment of staff.
You can listen to a full interview with Leanne McDowell & Jay Bourke on the John Creedon show here from April.
Bourke has been involved with The Globe, Market Bar, The Front Lounge, Gubu, Ri Ra, Eden, Cafe Bar Deli and the Odessa as well as the Bodega in Cork. He has previously courted controversy, running up debts and paying staff poorly. When employed by RTE as a ‘mentor’ for businesses on an entrepreneurial show, he boasted of employing ‘illegal’ immigrants. While staff in EDEN were handing in their tips to try to keep the restaurant afloat just last year Mr.Bourke recently acknowledged that his venture the Market Bar was successful in 2012 following profits of €400,000 in 2011. He welcomed Dylan McGrath’s new restaurant Fade St. Social as ‘improving the area’ despite having objected to its application for a full pub licence.
A character, as they say.
Here’s a short video of yesterday’s demonstration at EDEN restaurant in Temple Bar.