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Shocked ship's engineer fails in unfair dismissal claim

A CREWMAN who admitted responsibility for the sinking of a Donegal trawler is shocked after he failed to get compensation for being sacked. An Employment Appeals Tribunal rejected a claim by Owen Gallagher of The Braes, Fintra, Killybegs, that he was unfairly dismissed, concluding instead that the Doyle Fishing Company's decision was "fair and reasonable". Mr Gallagher, who is

A CREWMAN who admitted responsibility for the sinking of a Donegal trawler is shocked after he failed to get compensation for being sacked. An Employment Appeals Tribunal rejected a claim by Owen Gallagher of The Braes, Fintra, Killybegs, that he was unfairly dismissed, concluding instead that the Doyle Fishing Company's decision was "fair and reasonable". Mr Gallagher, who is a ship's engineer, last night said he was shocked by the outcome of the case, and claimed he had only "partially" scuppered the ship.

"I was shocked but it's in the past now so I have to move on," he said.

"The trawler didn't fully sink; it partially sank. I'm working now, and don't bear any ill-will towards the company. Life's too short."

Mr Gallagher accepted responsibility for the sinking of the boat in Norway but he lost his job at the Doyle Fishing company in Killybegs following the incident.

He had been working for 19 years with the company when the trawler sank while moored in the Norwegian port of Maloy in January 2005.

The crew of 12 had to rapidly evacuate the trawler. It was subsequently salvaged. The sinking happened after Mr Gallagher, who was second engineer, began to clean out the filters and seacock in the engine room. The tribunal was told he would have done the job hundreds of times before without incident. When Mr Gallagher lifted the filter cover, the water came rushing in and the engine room began to flood, and subsequently the trawler sank.

The tribunal found that Mr Gallagher had made "a grave error" but commended him for accepting responsibility.

But it said his mishandling of the operation was so serious that dismissal was justified.

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