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Naval signalman wins legal action in preventing service discharge

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Scales of justice

Scales of justice

Scales of justice

A member of the Naval Service has won a legal action aimed at preventing his discharge because of injuries he sustained several years ago while playing football.

Signalman Alan Bennett, who is stationed at Collins Barracks in Cork brought High Court proceedings after he was informed in late 2012 he was to be discharged after the Defence Forces downgraded his medical classification.

He claimed he had fully recovered from the injuries and is fully able to carry out his duties.

It was argued there was a failure to to have regard for his actual medical condition.

He brought proceedings against the Minister for Defence, the Attorney General and Ireland aimed at quashing the downgrade, which it was claimed was due to injuries he sustained to his knee and wrist while playing football for the Defence Forces.

The downgrade, it was claimed, was irrational, unreasonable, disproportionate and breached his rights.

The State opposed the action arguing the medical classification Signalman Bennett received should stand.

In his judgement Mr Justice Seamus Noonan quashed the decision to downgrade his medical status.

The Judge found that not all relevant material had been taken into consideration when the signalman's classification was under consideration.

The decision had effectively brought his career in the Defence Forces to an end, the judge said.

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