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Church of Ireland Minister settles 'employment' action against Archbishop

By Ann O'Loughlin

A High Court dispute between a Church of Ireland Minister and Archbishop Michael Jackson has been settled.

The action was taken by Rev Obinna Ulogwara who had sought an injunction preventing the Most Reverend Dr Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin and Bishop of Glendalough from terminating what the Minister claimed was his employment.

Church of Ireland Reverend, Obinna Ulogwara. Picture: Collins

Rev Ulogwara who, the court heard, is a priest of the Church of Ireland and a Bishop's curate, worked at the Parish of St George and St Thomas in Dublin's north inner city since 2010.

Last April the parish was amalgamated with the neighbouring North Strand parish due to a lack of funds.

In his action Rev Ulogwara says he has sought assurances from the Archbishop about his future after the decision in relation to the parish was taken, but claimed he was not been given any.

He claimed the absence of assurances had left him in a position where he feared he would have been left without a ministry, employment and potentially a place to live.

The Archbishop, represented by Tom Mallon Bl denied the claims and urged the court not to grant the injunction.

The application for an injunction had opened before the High Court last May, but was adjourned from time to time to allow the parties see if the matter could be resolved outside of court.

Today when the matter returned before the High Court, Marguerite Bolger SC for Rev Ulogwara told Mr Justice Paul Gilligan the matter had been settled and could be struck out.

No details of the settlement were revealed in open court.

Mr Justice Gilligan welcomed the settlement.

In his proceedings, Rev Ulogwara, a father of four schoolchildren who was also the Church of Ireland chaplain to the Mater Hospital, Temple Street Children's Hospital and Mountjoy Prison had claimed that his position in the parish was a permanent one. .

He claimed the absence of assurances had damaged his well-being and amounted to what he claimed was a breach of his contract of employment.

He also claimed as a Bishop's curate he could not be removed from office unless he was offered an equivalent position somewhere else.

The Archbishop had opposed the injunction application and argued the Reverend was not, and never could be, considered an employee of Dr Jackson or the church.

It was also argued that Rev Ulogwara was not an incumbent at the now former parish, and he did not have tenure there.