Heneghan v Western Regional Fisheries Board

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeMiss Justice Carroll
Judgment Date01 January 1986
Neutral Citation1985 WJSC-HC 1208
Docket NumberNo. 26P/1984
CourtHigh Court
Date01 January 1986

1985 WJSC-HC 1208

THE HIGH COURT

No. 26P/1984
HENEGHAN v. WESTERN REGIONAL FISHERIES BOARD
BETWEEN:-
LOUIS HENEGHAN
Plaintiff

and

THE WESTERN REGIONAL FISHERIES BOARD
Defendants

Citations:

FISHERIES ACT 1980 S18 PART II SCH 2

FISHERIES ACT 1980 S30

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ACT 1969

MINIMUM NOTICE & TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT ACT 1973

O'DONOGHUE V THE VETERINARY COUNCIL 1975 IR 398

UNFAIR DISMISSALS ACT 1977

Synopsis:

EMPLOYMENT

Termination

Fairness - Breach of contract - Dismissal by fellow employee - Fellow employee with personal interest - Dismissal invalid - (1984 No. 26P - Carroll J. - 26/4/85).

Heneghan v. Western Regional Fisheries Board

NATURAL JUSTICE

Employment

Termination - Dismissal by fellow employee - Fellow employee with personal interest - Dismissal invalid - (1984 No. 26P - Carroll J. - 26/4/85).

Heneghan v. Western Regional Fisheries Board

WORDS & PHRASES

"Control"

Employment - Termination - Dismissal by fellow employee - Fellow employee with personal interest - Dismissal invalid - (1984 No. 26P - Carroll J. - 26/4/85).

Heneghan v. Western Regional Fisheries Board

1

Judgment by Miss Justice Carrolldelivered on the 26th day of April 1985

2

The Plaintiff, Mr. Heneghan was appointed as Inspector to the Ballinakill Board of Conservators from the 1st of April 1971. He was appointed as Clerk and Inspector to the Ballinakill Board from the 1st November 1971. He was appointed as Clerk and Supervisory Inspector of the Connemara Board of Conservators from June 1972. He performed all duties of those offices until 1980 when, under the Fisheries Act 1980, the Ballinakill and Connemara Boards were dissolved and the Defendants, The Western Regional Fisheries Board, took over. Under Section 30 of the Fisheries Act 1980every person who immediately before the appointed day (the 29th of October 1980 was in the whole time employment of the Ballinakill,Connemaraor Galway Board of Conservators transferred to the Western Regional Fisheries Board and it was provided that a transferred officer should not receive less remuneration or enjoy less beneficial conditions of service than those he enjoyed immediately before being transferred.

3

The Plaintiff was placed in charge of staff for the protection of Fisheries in the Ballinakill Fishery District by Mr. Tunney, the Acting Regional Manager. His salary was related to the salary he was paid in respect of the Ballinakill District only, with a corresponding loss ofpay.

4

Mr. Heneghan claimed that he was entitled to an appointment with similiar remuneration, responsibilities, powers and conditions of service. The Board claimed that the Connemara appointments were only part-time. There was, therefore, an on-going dispute with the Board about his conditions of employment and remuneration from the commencement of his service with the Board.

5

The Plaintiff made many attempts from January 1982 to get a written statement of the terms of the employment as provided under the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act 1973.

6

He ultimately got a reply from Mr. Michael Kennedy, the Acting Regional Manager, by letter dated the 10th May 1983. The relevant portion is asfollows:-

"Employment will be terminated without notice because of misconduct. Notification of the reasons for proposed dismissal shall be conveyed to the officer who will be given the opportunity to state his case. Except in the case of gross misconduct warranting instant dismissal, no dismissal shall be effected until a full investivation has been carried out by the Board. The officer may be"suspended without pay pending such investigations. The officer may appeal against a decision to dismiss him provided the Board and officer agree independent arbitration may be sought in the case of adispute."

7

Mr. Kennedy had been appointed as part-time Acting Regional Manager of the Board in April 1983. He was also Regional Manager of the North Western Regional Fisheries Board.

8

At a Board meeting held on the 19th April, 1983, the Board agreed to delegate functions and other duties as outlined in the Manager's Report annexed to the minutes, with the exception of one matter which would not arise until the following year. Among the matters listed under the heading, Functions and Duties Delegated to Regional Manager, is following item:-

"all matters relating to recruitment, deployment and control ofstaff."

9

It is claimed by Mr. Kennedy and the Board the "control" included a power to dismiss staff.

10

At their first informal meeting on the 8th of April, 1983 Mr. Kennedy told Mr. Heneghan that matters on his file would not be counted against him. It was the first Mr. Heneghan knew of a file against him. A meeting was held on the 26th of April 1983 between Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Heneghan who is Chairman of his branch of the Union ITEGWU, Mr. Kilkelly, a Trade Union Official in Galway and Mr. Francis, a Shop Stewart. Among the matters discussed were Mr. Heneghan's position and the allegations made against him by the former Manager. Nothing was resolved. Mr. Kennedy said he was now in charge of all staff matters.

11

At the first meeting of Inspectors on the 4th of May1983, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Heneghan had a difference of opinion. Following the meeting, Mr. Heneghan sent seven memos on the 9th of May 1983. By letter dated the 12th of May 1983, Mr. Kennedy gave notice of suspension of Mr. Heneghan for two weeks without pay from the 23rd of May 1983, the main reason being his conduct at the meeting.

12

A meeting between Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Heneghan and the two Trade Union Officials, Mr. Kilkelly and Mr. Francis, took place on the 18th of May 1983 but it did not resolve anything. The Galway branch of the ITGWU applied to have the suspension investigated by a Rights Commissioner under the Industrial Relations Act 1969. By letter dated 20th of May 1983 Mr. Kennedy suspended Mr. Heneghan for two weeks from the 23rd of May, 1983. The Union protested by letter dated the 26th of May 1983. By letter dated the 1st of June, 1983 Mr. Kennedy, in reply to a letter from the Rights Commissioner dated the 20th of May 1983, objected to...

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