Wednesday 21 March 2018

GAA star 'fired from job after repeatedly punching club volunteer' withdraws claim of unfair dismissal

John Murtagh of Parnells GAA Club pictured at The Employment Appeals Hearing
John Murtagh of Parnells GAA Club pictured at The Employment Appeals Hearing

Ryan Nugent

An All-Ireland winning footballer has withdrawn a claim of unfair dismissal against a Dublin GAA club after he was sacked amid allegations he 'repeatedly' punched a club volunteer in the face.

Former Armagh footballer John Murtagh (32) resolved his case against Parnell GAA Club Ltd this morning at an Employee Appeals Tribunal.

Mr Murtagh, who denied punching Mr Maxwell, had argued that the correct disciplinary procedures had not been followed during his dismissal, but talks between Mr Murtagh’s representatives and those of Parnell GAA Club Ltd resolved the case this morning.

Mr Murtagh declined to comment afterwards when approached by the Herald.

The tribunal heard yesterday that three alleged incidents took place in the early hours of August 24, 2013.

Mr Murtagh – an under-21 All-Ireland winner – remained in the bar after he finished his shift at 7pm the previous evening.

He claims an initial verbal argument took place when he confronted a patron, Mr Maxwell, who he alleged was harassing a group of women.

The tribunal heard how he later confronted him again and this time allegedly grabbed him and pushed him to the floor.

Eight minutes later Mr Murtagh followed Mr Maxwell into the kitchen.

Another staff member told club management that Mr Maxwell fell to the floor after being repeatedly punched by Mr Murtagh, the tribunal was told.

At the time Mr Maxwell also gave a statement to the bar’s general manager David Feeney, claiming he was punched by Mr Murtagh.

Mr Murtagh’s solicitor said his client admits that he “grabbed him [Mr Maxwell], accosted him but he never punched him or kicked him”.

Mr Murtagh claimed that Mr Feeney met him after the incident and told him if he wrote a letter of apology he didn’t have to worry about his job.

Mr Feeney denied this. He said that he had a duty to provide a safe environment for people at the club and said Mr Murtagh was fired for “gross misconduct”.

Mr Murtagh’s solicitor argued that his client was not on the premises in a work capacity and asked why disciplinary procedures for social members of the club didn’t apply.

He argued that the club cannot extend employee sanctions to employees who are off-duty.


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