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Worker fired after being told he 'could be a terrorist'

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Francis Deegan. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Francis Deegan. Photo: Doug O'Connor

Francis Deegan. Photo: Doug O'Connor

A UPS employee who was fired after he failed a background check required by new post-9/11 EU aviation security regulations was told he "could be a potential bomb-maker or terrorist".

Father-of-five Francis Deegan (57), from Ballymun, had worked as a pre-loader for parcel delivery giant UPS in Finglas from October 2008 until February 2012.

He was fired after he could not satisfactorily explain a gap in his employment history from a period during 2007 and 2008.

INFORMATION

HE WAS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE INFORMATION ON ALL HIS EMPLOYERS FOR THE FIVE YEARS PRIOR TO HIS EMPLOYMENT WITH UPS AS PART OF NEW EU AVIATION SECURITY REGULATIONS WHICH CAME INTO EFFECT IN 2010.

Mr Deegan told an Employment Appeals Tribunal chaired by Graham Hanlon that he was working cash-in-hand in Mullingar in 2007 to 2008 and said he did his best to obtain records or witnesses proving this, but to no avail.

"I got what I could get and I did what I could," said Mr Deegan. "There was no more I could do."

Counsel for Mr Deegan, Conor Bowman, brought to the tribunal's attention several other employees who had similar undocumented gaps in their employment history and who were able to keep their jobs after they swore an affidavit saying where they worked.

Mr Deegan gave evidence to the tribunal and told how, when in a disciplinary meeting prior to being let go, he was told by manager John Donavan: "Francis, you could be a potential bomb-maker or a terrorist."

BOMBS

HOWEVER, MR DONAVAN SAID: "I ASKED FRANCIS IF HE UNDERSTOOD WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT CAME TO US AND SAID, 'WHAT WAS THIS MAN DOING? HOW DO YOU KNOW HE WAS NOT MAKING BOMBS?'"

He said his statement intended to be a "verbal slap to impress upon him, if you like, the gravity of the situation."

"I thought being so bold or close to the bone might elicit some different response we hadn't gotten already," he said.

The tribunal retired to consider the case and will issue a written determination.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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