Wednesday 17 January 2018

Gun club boss secures court order against his dismissal

Rifle. Stock image
Rifle. Stock image

THE national director of a representative organisation for hundreds of gun clubs has secured an injunction preventing his purported dismissal.

Des Crofton obtained the High Court order against the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), which regulates game shoot bodies. It has over 24,000 members in some 960 clubs involved in game shooting and conservation.

He was suspended some weeks ago on foot of allegations he conspired against the NARGC in relation to a claim against the association.  It was also alleged he had secretly recorded meetings with some members of the NARGC's executive.

Mr Crofton has been informed in recent days the NARGC's Executive is to recommend to its governing body, at a meeting scheduled for next week, that his employment should be terminated.

Mr Crofton,Cloghan, Birr Co Offaly, has been employed by the NARGC since 1991 and denies any wrongdoing.

The litigation against the NARGC relates to alleged indemnities he says were given by the association to gun owners who brought High Court Actions over licencing laws.

Those proceedings arose, Mr Crofton said in a sworn statement, after the NARGC took issue with the indemnities.

He said he never knew why the indemnities were not honoured and had made this view known to his employer.

He said in those cases the NARGC had denied the indemnities were issued.

Mr Crofton could not support such denials and would not give false evidence if the matter came to trial.

He says the complaint of conspiracy against him is an attempt by individuals in the association to use their influence "to exact vengeance" on him.

In relation to the recordings Mr Crofton said he had recorded meetings because he feared his good name was being destroyed and his employment was at risk.

He had unintentionally recorded part of a meeting  he had been asked to leave where he was described as being "a nasty piece of work" and that he had "almost single handedly destroyed the organisation", he said.

Ms Justice Caroline Costello granted Mr Crofton a temporary injunction preventing the NARGC and its executive from terminating his contract of employment.

The application was made on an ex parte (one side only represented) basis.  The case comes back before the court Friday (June 3).

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