Saturday 23 February 2019

GAA official wins court order to stop €55k job being cut by county board

Fighting: Diarmuid O’Donovan arrives at the Four Courts for his action. PHOTO: COLLINS COURTS
Fighting: Diarmuid O’Donovan arrives at the Four Courts for his action. PHOTO: COLLINS COURTS

Tim Healy

A senior Cork GAA official has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing the termination of his job.

The action has been brought by Diarmuid O'Donovan.

He has been senior administrator of the Cork GAA County Board since 2013, a €55,000 a year position established to assist the day-to-day work of board, while its county secretary dealt with the completion of Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium.

The revamped stadium project finished in 2017.

In a sworn statement, Mr O'Donovan says late last year he was initially informed by the board his role was not ending but was told last week he was being made redundant.

He said he was shocked by the decision and believes the attempt to terminate his employment is inseparable from the controversial costs overrun on the reconstruction of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

He believes the defendants have identified him with Frank Murphy, the former Cork county secretary, who before his retirement had overall responsibility for the Páirc Uí Chaoimh project.

He said the nature of his role involved him working closely with Mr Murphy.

Mr O'Donovan, of Mervue Lawn, Ballyvolane, Cork also told the court he applied for but was not selected for the position of county secretary following Mr Murphy's retirement late last year.

Mr O'Donovan has also claimed that in recent weeks he has been marginalised and excluded from meetings and games he had previously attended, and that he had worked some 55-60 hours a week in the role.

He said the redundancy was a blatant attempt to remove him from a role he had successfully and effectively carried out and expanded for several years.

Prior to taking it up, he had been acting chief executive with the 'Evening Echo' newspaper and believed he would continue in the GAA role until his retirement.

He claimed the decision to discontinue his role must be formalised by the Cork GAA, and he was offered a redundancy payment of approximately €20,000. He also said that on the same day he was told his position was to be made redundant, a wholly inappropriate WhatsApp message was sent to all the members of the county board that the role of senior administrator was to be terminated.

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds granted Mr O'Donovan an interim injunction preventing Cork GAA County Board, Cumann Luthchleas Gael, from terminating his employment. The injunction was granted on an ex-parte basis.

The case returns next week.

Irish Independent

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