Thursday 22 February 2018

TUI drops action in row over election

Stock photo
Stock photo
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) lodged a High Court injunction against a former staff member who raised concerns about alleged voter interference in union elections.

The Sunday Independent last week revealed how the teachers' union was carrying out connected investigations into alleged election interference and claims of an internal data protection breach.

It has since emerged the union sought to lodge an injunction against the whistleblower who raised the election concerns and who is also the subject of the data protection investigation.

The legal proceedings were lodged June 1. However, sources close to the case this weekend revealed the union dropped the action and reached a financial settlement with the former staff member.

Members of the TUI's board of trustees and executive committee are furious with the union's senior ranks for taking the legal action without their prior consent.

Barry Williams, the chair of TUI's board of trustees and former vice president, wrote to the union's secretary general John MacGabhann on June 6, criticising the decision to lodge a High Court injunction against the whistleblower.

Mr Williams said he was "very concerned for the safety of the decision to potentially discharge a large sum of the union's money" without any consultation or direction from the trustees or the executive committee.

The election interference claims centre on email exchanges between senior TUI officials and union members.

The whistleblower's complaint led to a data protection investigation due to questions over how the former staff member gained access to the internal emails.

The investigation is examining whether the emails were hacked maliciously or accessed due to an error in the union's IT system.

However, the whistleblower's complaint, which was lodged with two TUI senior executive committee members, sparked concerns over a potential data protection breach and questions over how the complainant had access to internal emails.

Sunday Independent

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