Radiographer loses bid to work past 65
A RADIOGRAPHER lost a High Court action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) yesterday in which she claimed she did not have to retire at 65 years of age.
Aoife McCarthy, of Elmwood Drive, Swords, Co Dublin, was hired in June 2002 on a part-time basis with the orthodontic facility at St James's Hospital in Dublin and in 2005 her hours were increased to full-time by her employer, the HSE.
Ms McCarthy said she only learned last August that she was required to retire when she reached 65 years of age in October, and she claimed she was never given a statement of the terms and conditions of her employment.
She said she only received a copy of the standard "contract of employment" for HSE employees last year.
Ms McCarthy, who is also a qualified barrister, said she took up employment in the belief that the provisions of Section 19 of the Health Act 1970, which sets the retirement age for permanent health board employees, would not apply to her. Her proceedings against the HSE sought to quash a decision to terminate her employment when she turned 65.
Yesterday, Mr Justice John Hedigan ruled there was an implied term of her job that the retirement age was 65 and therefore the termination of her employment was lawful.
He also found there was no representation made to her which could have given rise to a legitimate expectation that she would be kept on after retirement. He also rejected her claim that she was being discriminated against on age grounds.
The judge said Ms McCarthy was a highly intelligent woman with a legal qualification and it was difficult to accept that she had no knowledge of the retirement age in the public service.
Irrespective of such knowledge, the judge said he would consider that anyone concerned should have known or could easily have become aware of the retirement age.
In addition, he said, Ms McCarthy was on notice of it because she was a member of a pension scheme which referred to the existence of a retirement age and a cut-off for contributions at the age of 65.