Tuesday 20 March 2018

Obscene email that led to sacking came from Bank of Ireland HQ

Luke Byrne

A SENIOR Bank of Ireland manager has admitted that at least one of a series of obscene emails that led to a worker being dismissed originated in the bank's head office.

The admission was made at the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) yesterday during the fourth day of hearings into the alleged unfair dismissal of James Reilly.

Mr Reilly, from Blanchardstown, Co Dublin, was dismissed as a manager of the Blanchardstown branch in 2009 after it was found that he had forwarded on a number of explicit emails.

He was one of three staff fired following an investigation into offensive content in the work email accounts of five staff members.

Patrick Lonergan, the manager who conducted the investigation, was cross-examined yesterday.

Johanna Ronan Mehigan, counsel for Mr Reilly, asked Mr Lonergan if a staff member in head office was among those to have originally sent obscene emails before Mr Reilly forwarded them on.

Mr Lonergan agreed that this was the case and said that he raised the issue with colleagues in HR, but that his role was only to investigate five staff members.

Ms Mehigan said that her client was subjected to "filth", from within the bank on a regular basis.


One email, entitled 'Anything to Declare' and received by Mr Reilly in February 2008, contained a picture of paedophile Gary Glitter holding a bag which was altered to make it look like a child's head was popping out. The email was sent to Mr Reilly by a member of staff in a top position at the bank.

Ms Mehigan said that of all the 51 emails sent or received by Mr Reilly and judged by the bank to be obscene, only one was created by him.

She said that this email, containing a picture of two naked men, was forwarded to his private email address only.

Sending inappropriate and pornographic images between staff email addresses in the bank was "rampant", she alleged.

She added that, according to the previous sender lists on emails forwarded by Mr Reilly, senior managers and head office staff had repeatedly created or forwarded on offensive content.

Previously the tribunal was told that Mr Reilly forwarded the emails to cover up for his homosexuality and that he had not seen some of them.

Rosemary Mallon, counsel for the bank, said that the claim that sending pornographic images was rampant in the bank was an "extreme exaggeration".

Ms Mallon said that of the five staff members investigated three were dismissed.

The case continues today.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News