Trucker fired over call from Gerry Ryan wants job back
A LORRY driver sacked after pulling into the hard shoulder of a motorway to take a call from the 'Gerry Ryan Show' is appealing the decision.
Noel Cawley (39), admits he was in "happy land" and not "particularly thinking straight" after he won €2,000 and a trip to London on the RTE 2fm radio show -- and subsequently took the wrong motorway exit and performed an illegal U-turn.
The father of two is taking an unfair dismissal case against his ex-employers, Target Express, who blame him for being late with cargo.
With the benefit of "hindsight", Mr Cawley yesterday said he was "sorry" for answering the phone call from the popular radio show on November 19, 2009.
However, he said Gerry Ryan was "hilarious" and talking on his show was something he would "never forget".
Dubliner Mr Cawley, who moved his family to Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, for a "better life", was driving a 60-foot articulated truck for the courier company during bad weather on the day he received the call.
He had entered a competition to tell a funny story on the radio the previous day. When a Dublin number popped up on Mr Cawley's phone on the morning in question, he said he answered because he thought it was his "head office".
When he was told the line was bad, he pulled the truck over on the M7, which an Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) hearing heard yesterday was illegal and unsafe.
He subsequently won a prize on the show presented by the late broadcaster Gerry Ryan, and said he was "delighted".
However, an investigation was carried out at the company after Mr Cawley arrived 24 minutes late with the cargo.
The internal probe also found Mr Cawley had taken an illegal U-turn on his route on the same date. He came off the motorway at the wrong exit and carried out a U-turn before heading back towards the motorway on his way from Dublin to Thurles.
Mr Cawley told the EAT yesterday he wanted to be reinstated to his position.
He said he was suffering from an earache on November 19, 2009, and only went into work because the firm didn't have cover on the day.
Target Express claimed Mr Cawley was guilty of gross misconduct and his actions put the public, the firm's clients and the company in danger.
The EAT heard Mr Cawley, who had no previous convictions or penalty points, was dismissed from Target Express on January 19, 2010. .
The hearing continues today.