Saturday 16 December 2017

Aras Attracta manager claims attempt made to re-discipline her after clearance by appeals body, High Court hears

The Áras Attracta centre for adults with intellectual disabilities,
in Swinford, Co Mayo. Photo: Keith Heneghan/Phocus.
The Áras Attracta centre for adults with intellectual disabilities, in Swinford, Co Mayo. Photo: Keith Heneghan/Phocus.

Tim Healy

The programme manager of the Aras Attracta nursing home claims an attempt is being made to re-discipline her after she was cleared by an appeals body, the High Court heard.

Ann Burns was in charge of the Swinford, Co Mayo, facility when a disciplinary inquiry was held by the HSE which in 2015 recommended her dismissal.

She appealed that and an appeals committee last July set aside all the findings against her.

As a result of a letter sent to her last November by the HSE, she applied Monday to the court to bring an action to prevent what her counsel, Feichín McDonagh, said was an attempt to re-discipline her.

Ms Burns, who has been on administrative leave, should have been invited back to work after the July appeal decision, but instead she received a letter from the HSE official who originally told her she was being dismissed, counsel said. 

The letter recited the original four charges against her, which had been overturned on appeal,  and also gave her a final written warning, Mr McDonagh said.  She was also told she could appeal the decision.

There were no procedures allowing for the re-disciplining of a person, he said.

The HSE had also offered her another job on the same level and salary but, unless there was some agreement with Ms Burns, she was entitled to return as programme director, he said.

Leave to bring a legal challenge against the HSE over the matter was granted by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan.  The application was made on an ex-parte basis (only one side represented).

He gave the HSE liberty to apply to discharge or vary the order on 48 hours notice.

The case comes back in March.

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