Sacked Limerick community worker ‘bugged’ meeting

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Dismissed: Mary Donnelly
AN EMPLOYMENT Appeals Tribunal has found that a community employment supervisor who claimed she was unfairly dismissed by an Adult Education Centre in Limerick was “on the balance of probability” the person who hid a recording device in order to eavesdrop on a board meeting.

AN EMPLOYMENT Appeals Tribunal has found that a community employment supervisor who claimed she was unfairly dismissed by an Adult Education Centre in Limerick was “on the balance of probability” the person who hid a recording device in order to eavesdrop on a board meeting.

Mary Donnelly’s action, which was heard earlier this year, has been dismissed.

During three days of evidence, the three-person tribunal heard that Ms Donnelly began working for St Mary’s Adult Education Centre in December 2008 and continued to work there until she was dismissed in April 2013 following a disciplinary enquiry.

The Tribunal was told that after concerns emerged relating to Ms Donnelly’s work, she was invited to attend a disciplinary enquiry meeting. In advance of that the board, which is made up of voluntary members, decided to meet to discuss the matter.

Evidence was heard that before the meeting began, members of the board were alerted to the presence of a recording device, which had been concealed under a sheet of paper in a flower basket.

The device, which was turned on and recording, was handed over to gardai after it was discovered.

Ms Donnelly was suspended and invited to attend a separate disciplinary enquiry in relation to the device.

A number of witnesses gave evidence during the enquiry but Ms Donnelly refused to engage and was subsequently informed she was being dismissed.

In her evidence (to the Tribunal) the claimant said she was not aware that a board meeting was due to take place on the date the recording device was found.

While she admitted entering the room with a flower basket some time before the meeting, she denied hiding the recording device saying she had no motive to do so.

In its determination, the Tribunal notes that while nobody witnessed the placing of the recording device in the flower basket, it is satisfied “on the balance of probability” that it was placed there by Ms Donnelly. Her claim was dismissed.