RSA will fight dismissal case 'tooth and nail'

Philip Smith

By Fiona Dillon

RSA Insurance Ireland will fight a constructive dismissal case being taken by its former chief executive Philip Smith "tooth and nail".

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has set aside five days in March for the case.

The EAT was told yesterday that Mr Smith's employment with the company began in January 2006 and ceased in November 2013. He was paid a gross monthly salary of €34,000.

Tom Mallon (BL) representing Mr Smith said it was going to be a lengthy case that could require four to five days. He said that his client's direct evidence will be "at least a day".


"We have requested a substantial number of documents which we say are necessary for us to run the case," he said.

Mr Mallon said the case was potentially significant for Mr Smith, who has an address in Cabinteely, Dublin, not only in "money terms" but in terms of is his client's employability in the future.

Brian O'Moore (SC) for RSA Insurance Ireland said that it will be disputing the case, which he said had "no merit".

RSA will be disputing the entirety of Mr Smith's claim, according to Mr O'Moore.

He said that they had received correspondence on Tuesday evening, looking for 22 categories of documents.

"The categories are large in themselves, and the overall amount of documentation would be very significant, a lot of them confidential."

The two legal sides agreed to try and deal with the matter by way of correspondence in advance of the March hearing.

Mr O'Moore also requested that a block of days be put aside. "The tribunal appreciates that we are here to fight the case tooth and nail, I might say," he said.

Chairwoman Niamh O'Carroll-Kelly said it would be listed before the tribunal for five days, beginning the week of March 9.

"It is very unusual that we give five days, the general rule is that we give two," she said.

"If there are going to be talks please have them sooner rather than later," she said.


Mr Smith departed from RSA in November 2013 after certain financial issues emerged at the UK group's Irish subsidiary.

On November 8, 2013, RSA suspended Mr Smith pending the outcome of an investigation into issues in the Irish claims and finance functions that were identified during a routine internal audit.

At the time it said no findings had been made against the executive. Later that month, on November 28, RSA said that Mr Smith had resigned and said that no severance payment had been made.