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Greyhound CFO seeks to stop disciplinary process

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Denial: Michael Murnane

Denial: Michael Murnane

Denial: Michael Murnane

The chief financial officer with the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) is seeking to halt a disciplinary process against him claiming it is flawed, lacks independence and breaches his contract of employment.

Michael Murnane, who has been CFO since 2011, is the subject of a disciplinary process arising out of two allegations of misconduct, which he denies.

It is alleged that he inadequately managed company bank accounts to the extent that overdraft interest of between €14,000 and €21,000 was unnecessarily incurred.

It is also alleged that in breach of company policy in early 2019 he used a company credit card to purchase a gift voucher for a departing work colleague.

Due to these allegations Mr Murnane was summoned to a disciplinary meeting.

Mr Murnane "absolutely rejects" the allegations of wrongdoing against him and described the overdraft claim as "a bolt from the blue".

He claims the process lacks independence and that he has a contractual entitlement to have the matters investigated by an external independent third party.

He fears that the process could result in him losing his €119,000 a year plus allowances job and that his reputation will be damaged.

As a result of the disciplinary process against him Mr Murnane, who has been out on sick leave for some time, seeks various orders from the High Court including an injunction preventing the IGB from continuing with the disciplinary hearing against him.

The IGB, represented by Mark Connaughton SC and Lorna Lynch Bl, opposes the application and argues that the internal investigation process should be allowed to proceed. The IGB rejects Mr Murnane's claims he has an entitlement to an external investigation.

The application came before Mr Justice Tony O'Connor on Tuesday.

After inviting the parties to consider going to mediation, the judge adjourned the matter to next week's court sitting.

Mr Murnane, represented by Cliona Kimber SC, says that he repaid the money used to pay for the voucher out of his own pocket a few weeks after it had been purchased.

It is Mr Murnane's case that the overdraft came about after the board had suggested putting money the IGB got following the sale of Harold's Cross stadium in 2018 into a separate ring-fenced bank account.

He said that the CEO of the IGB, Mr Gerard Dollard wanted the money in the current account so that no overdraft would be needed.

Mr Murnane claims that it was extremely unfair that he was held personally liable for the overdraft.

The claims are denied.

Irish Independent