Friday 19 January 2018

Irish Nationwide manager was 'in fear of Fingleton'

Brendan Beggan and Olivia Greene at the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin
yesterday
Brendan Beggan and Olivia Greene at the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin yesterday
Former Irish Nationwide CEO Michael Fingleton
Brendan Beggan and Olivia Greene at the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin yesterday
Former Irish Nationwide CEO Michael Fingleton

Shane Hickey

A FORMER Irish Nationwide manager worked "in fear" of the controversial retired chief executive Michael Fingleton, an employment tribunal heard yesterday.

Brendan Beggan (48) has claimed there was an extremely lax lending policy at the building society during Mr Fingleton's tenure.

He is taking a case of unfair dismissal against Nationwide in the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), which the building society is contesting.

Mr Beggan is the partner of whistleblower Olivia Greene, who last year revealed Mr Fingleton fast-tracked loans to Fianna Fail politicians including €1.6m for former European Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.

It is understood Mr Beggan, who was dismissed as manager of the Monaghan Irish Nationwide branch in July 2009, has €2m in outstanding loans and mortgages with the building society for five properties in Co Monaghan, including his home.

Mr Beggan claims he was bullied and harassed by the now-nationalised society over the loans and mortgages he holds with it within a month of Ms Green first speaking out against her former employers in 2007.

Yesterday, the EAT heard he had sold a property at Killylean in Co Monaghan for €202,000 in 2004 and kept the money for his own use instead of paying off the mortgage to the building society, which claims he told them he was still renting out the property.

Dismissal

Irish Nationwide said the dismissal came about as a result of Mr Beggan's failure to repay the money.

Chief executive Gerry McGinn told the tribunal yesterday that, during a meeting in 2009, Mr Beggan conceded his actions constituted gross misconduct and he was not surprised he was dismissed but didn't want to be seen as a thief.

However, Mary Paula Guinness, counsel for Mr Beggan, said he had a very different version of events.

She said Mr Beggan had been working in fear of Mr Fingleton and the former chief executive had directed him on how to deal with his loans. It was because of this fear that Mr Beggan had not mentioned the arrangement between the two men during an independent investigation into his conduct.

There was an extremely lax loans system at the time in the building society, Ms Guinness said, and on one occasion he had applied for a loan and got €25,000 more than he asked for.

The EAT will decide today on an application by Ms Guinness to issue a subpoena to compel Mr Fingleton to give evidence at the tribunal.

The case continues today.

Irish Independent

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