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Retired garda hero battles for EBS board seat

Martin Donnellan, the former garda assistant commissioner who took a case against the State for ageism, is standing for the board of the EBS.

The man who won a Scott Medal for bravery has lodged his nomination with the embattled building society.

Nominations for the board closed on December 31. EBS sources say that all five of the outgoing directors are seeking re-election.

These include its beleaguered chairman Mark Moran, finance director Alan Merriman and veterans Barbara Patton and Tony Moroney.

Mr Donnellan is expected to present a serious challenge to those directors, who have held onto office over the recent troubled period at the EBS.

Fergus Murphy, the new EBS chief executive, is also understood to be seeking re-appointment.

Mr Donnellan is expected to enlist substantial support, not just from the thousands of gardai with accounts at the EBS, but also for his service to the wider community during his 40 years in the force.

He won his Scott Medal for bravery after a bank robbery in Stillorgan, Co Dublin, when he and another officer managed to disarm and arrest a gang of three criminals.

Mr Donnellan was not armed but was able to detain the robbers after a high-speed car chase.

The former assistant commissioner's record of community and police work is expected to appeal to the 270,000 EBS members who will vote in the election.

He spent five years heading up the National Immigration Bureau, turning it from a paper-based to a computerised system.

He was later in charge of a national crime unit that investigated drugs in the community and fraud.

Mr Donnellan lost his case against the State when he contested the rule which forced him to retire at 60. In his younger days he played football for the garda senior team.