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FAI denies 'hit list' as former assistant challenges dismissal

A FORMER personal assistant to Packie Bonner claims she was unfairly dismissed by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) when she was made redundant after 10 years with the organisation.

Vanessa Tucker (38), pictured, alleges she only learned that her administration job might be in danger through "rumour and speculation" and was shocked when she was called into a meeting in November 2010 to learn it was gone.

Ms Tucker, from Rush, Co Dublin, served as personal assistant to former FAI technical director Packie Bonner and previous chief executive Brendan Menton.

Giving evidence at an Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin yesterday, FAI human resources director Stephen Driver denied that the organisation had drawn up a "hit list" of employees it wanted to get rid of during a wave of redundancies in 2010.

He said a genuine redundancy situation arose when Ms Tucker and 12 others were let go at that time.

"Rather than drawing up a hit list, the organisation approached it from a functional point of view," he said.

"From our perspective, we feel we carried out this process in a fair manner."

He said the FAI had to enforce a cost-cutting programme and reduce its "headcount".

The hearing was adjourned to December 17 when Ms Tucker is due to give her evidence.

Irish Independent