Vet removed from job after wearing Donald Trump mask to work at Tipperary meat plant
A vet in meat plant was removed from inspection duties by the Department of Agriculture after he wore a Donald Trump mask to work "as a joke" the day after the US president's election, the High Court heard.
Dr Declan Gill, Newgarden, Castleconnell, Co Limerick, was given leave by the court to challenge the Department's February 20 decision removing him from all temporary veterinary panels which oversee the slaughter of animals at meat plants.
Mairéad McKenna BL, for Dr Gill, said the decision arose out of an incident on November 9 last when her client went to work at the Rosderra Irish Meats plant in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, where he been a temporary inspector since 1998.
Ms McKenna said he was wearing a Donald Trump mask and when he met the plant's human resources director, Tony Delaney, he gave him the Donald "thump" in a joking manner.
Mr Delaney alleges Dr Gill approached him with a mask on and threatened him with a closed fist with the words "you're dead" which he found intimidating.
Arising out of this, the meat plant sought to have Dr Gill removed from the inspection panel and following consideration of the incident, a decision group recommended his removal with immediate effect last February.
Ms McKenna said he had not been afforded fair procedures and while not an employee of the plant, her side argue he is entitled to employment rights afforded to all workers. His main income comes from being a veterinary inspector, she said.
In a direct response to Mr Delaney's complaint, Dr Gill's lawyers denied he was guilty of any wrongdoing. He wore the Trump mask while he walked along the production line where it was then removed. It was done as a joke for the purpose of entertaining his colleagues at the plant, the solicitors said in a letter last February.