Northern Ireland

Snooker player Mark Allen challenges Department for the Economy over ‘wages payout’ decision

Mark Allen
Snooker player Mark Allen is challenging the Department for the Economy for payment of wages after a company that managed his earnings folded. (Bradley Collyer/PA)

SNOOKER star Mark Allen has challenged the Department for the Economy over claims he did not receive wages after a management company that processed his prize winnings folded.

Details of the dispute emerged in Belfast on Thursday at a preliminary hearing for an industrial tribunal.

Representatives for the MJ Kane accountancy firm appeared on Mr Allen’s behalf.

It is understood that following proceedings for a previous divorce case, Mr Allen had been told he could no longer receive a salary from Mark Allen Sports Club Ltd.

Technically an employee of the company who received a wage, Mr Allen then applied to the Department for the Economy to recover his lost pay – a function that can be covered by the department’s insolvency service.

By December 2022, Mr Allen, who is from Antrim town, had been informed he was unsuccessful and had three months to appeal.

During Thursday’s hearing, employment judge Conor Hamill heard that the MJ Kane firm had attempted to file the appeal within the deadline by March 7, 2023, but believed they were unable to without a certificate from the Labour Relations Agency.

This was received by March 17, but the appeal was still not formally lodged until April 5 that year.

Michael Kane from MJ Kane told the court this was in part because he was undergoing hospital treatment in March, and the appeal process was more complicated than they had initially believed.

The department have stated there was no reasonable excuse for the delay, and that the appeal should not be granted after the company had waited until “the eleventh hour”.

A barrister for the department, Mr Corkey, said it was also not accepted the process was overly complicated and that it amounted to “a fundamental failure by MJ Kane accountants to manage this in an appropriate way”.

Mark Allen. (Adam Davy/PA)

The case has now been adjourned for further evidence before a decision on whether a full tribunal will take place.

Michael Kane from MJ Kane told the Irish News afterwards:

“Hopefully the judge will proceed with the tribunal and we’ll hear in due course.”