A "dawn raid" last year at CRH's Irish Cement plant in Drogheda, by state investigators investigating alleged breaches of competition law, breached the terms of the warrant by seizing the contents of a senior manager's email account.
The Irish Times reported that personal correspondence of Seamus Lynch, the head of CRH's businesses in Ireland and Spain, was taken by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), but the High Court has ruled that this should not have been part of investigations on that centred on Irish Cement. The court made this ruling as the emails were also likely to have contained private information and information about CRH's businesses rather than Irish Cement.
The CCPC was also told that that it would be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Constitution if it were to review the disputed contents of Mr Lynch's account.
Mr Lynch, who was formerly managing director of Irish Cement and is its current chairman, is involved in several other parts of CRH's operations.
In a judgment delivered yesterday, Mr Justice Max Barrett also granted CRH, Mr Lynch and Irish Cement an injunction restraining CCPC from accessing some of the documents and files it seized. He said it is not entitled to 'trawl' the material. The injunction is pending an independently-managed process to 'sift' the material to exclude information that does not specifically refer to the operations of Irish Cement.
CRH did not make any comment following the judgment. The CCPC, meanwhile, is understood to be considering whether to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.