Monday 25 September 2017

Colleagues urinated in my tea mug, fireman tells court

Fireman Eugene Carey and his wife Bernie leaving the
court after yesterday's hearing
Fireman Eugene Carey and his wife Bernie leaving the court after yesterday's hearing

Tim Healy

A FIREMAN has claimed colleagues urinated in his tea mug during an alleged nine-year campaign of harassment and abuse.

Eugene Carey, who was the station officer in Ballina, Co Mayo, claims he was subjected to verbal abuse, received anonymous letters, and had his orders ignored.

He has also claimed that after he took over as station officer in 1992, some firemen turned up late for fire callouts, and on one occasion a firemen turned up for duty smelling of alcohol.

He claims he was told he was an outsider and should never have got the job.

Mr Carey, who still lives over the fire station in Ballina, claims his orders were ignored and on one occasion his station tea mug was spat and urinated in.

"It was very harrowing. I was very, very upset. I felt I had been violated. My young son used to drink out of the mug," he told Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley.

Mr Carey has sued Mayo County Council, claiming that, between 1992 and 2001, he was caused to suffer and sustain mental distress, anxiety, illness, loss and damage.

He says this was the result of verbal abuse, harassment and intimidation which he alleges was inflicted on him by various fellow employees of the council.

He has claimed the council failed to act on complaints made by him and failed to have in place an adequate anti-bullying programme.

The council has contended that the action is past its time limit for legal action and denies all the claims.

Opening the case, counsel John O'Donnell said Mr Carey was an exemplary fireman and had wanted to be in the fire service since he was a child.

He said that when Mr Carey was appointed to the post he did not know that there was a "lot of trouble and unrest" among the staff of Ballina fire station.

The court was told that there were significant discipline problems at Ballina which Mr Carey tried to address and this led him to be subjected to repeated abuse and victimisation.

He said that Mr Carey suffers from a recognised condition attributable to what happened to him at work. He was transferred to Castlebar to a desk job in 2001, where he has worked since.

In evidence, Mr Carey said when he moved with his wife and young son to Ballina, he thought it would be an opportunity for a new life.

The case continues on Tuesday.

Irish Independent

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