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Sunday 25 February 2018

Whistleblower's council claims are dismissed

The whistleblower alleged the council made disguised payments affecting its financial exposure at a time when Sporting Fingal was facing difficulties, which ultimately resulted in its liquidation in 2011. Photo: SPORTSFILE
The whistleblower alleged the council made disguised payments affecting its financial exposure at a time when Sporting Fingal was facing difficulties, which ultimately resulted in its liquidation in 2011. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Darragh McDonagh

A senior official at Fingal County Council made allegations of accounting irregularities, disguised payments, and improper use of funds by the local authority in the course of its involvement with former League of Ireland club, Sporting Fingal.

The allegations were contained in a protected disclosure made under whistleblower legislation by a senior executive officer of the council.

The whistleblower alleged the council made disguised payments affecting its financial exposure at a time when Sporting Fingal was facing difficulties, which ultimately resulted in its liquidation in 2011.

The disclosure, which included a detailed report, was submitted to the chief executive of Fingal County Council in 2014; and to a government minister in March 2015.

An investigation was subsequently commissioned which concluded that "there was nothing to investigate". The whistleblower claimed he had been demoted to a "non-job" and subjected to penalisation by Fingal County Council as a result of his decision to make the protected disclosure.

This specific claim was recently the subject of an adjudication hearing by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), which concluded there was insufficient evidence the complainant's transfer to a different role was "in retaliation to the protected disclosures". Parties to the WRC claim were anonymised but Fingal County Council has confirmed that it was the local authority referred to in the decision.

Irish Independent

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