Dismissed head of IT at National Gallery brings court challenge against decision to advertise position

The action has been brought by Will Brien who the court heard was summarily dismissed from his role late last month.
Dismissed head of IT at National Gallery brings court challenge against decision to advertise position

High court reporters

A man who was dismissed from his job as head of IT at the National Gallery of Ireland has brought High Court proceedings aimed at preventing anybody else from being appointed to the position until his appeal against the decision has been heard.

The action has been brought by Will Brien who the court heard was summarily dismissed from his role late last month.

He denies any wrongdoing alleged against him, has appealed the decision of the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI) and says the decision to terminate his employment is "patently unlawful".

He claims that he has raised strong grounds in his pending appeal, brought under the Civil Service Disciplinary Code.

However, he claims that the post of the NGI's Head of IT, which he was appointed to in 2018, has been advertised on three different recruitment websites.

The court heard that the NGI's solicitors had agreed to withdraw advertisements of the position pending the outcome of the appeal.

However, the NGI's lawyers said it requires to have somebody fill this role, and said it is entitled to appoint an individual to the position on a temporary basis, which is something it claims would not prejudice Mr Brien's position.

However, Mr Brien remains concerned and has claimed that the advertising of the role by the NGI shows no regards for his rights, and could amount to alleged evidence of a pre determination that he would not be returning to his role

He fears that the NGI has no intention of restoring him to his position, or his standing and reputation with his co-workers.

Progress in arranging his appeal hearing was slow, he further claims.

In his action Mr Brien from Main Street, Newcastle, Co Dublin is seeking orders including an injunction preventing the Gallery's Board of Directors and Guardians from taking any further steps to fill his role until the appeal process has been concluded.

He also seeks orders restraining the defendants from taking any further steps to undermine the appeal process provided for in the defendants' Code of Discipline, and to expedite the appeal process Mr Brien has evoked.

Mairead McKenna SC for Mr Brien said her client was shocked when he was initially suspended on full pay, before being summarily dismissed.

He was informed that his suspension arose over an alleged refusal to comply with reasonable management instructions.

It is also alleged by the NGI that he had engaged in disruptive behaviour.

Mr Brien claims that prior to being suspended he was never the subject of a previous disciplinary process, warning or investigation process conducted by the NGI.

Counsel said that it was there case that Mr Brien's appeal will be successful.

The matter came before Mr Justice Brian O'Moore, on an ex-parte basis, on Tuesday.

The judge, noting correspondence from the defendant's lawyers which said that it would only appoint somebody to the role on a temporary basis, said he was not prepared to grant any injunctions without hearing from the defendants.

The judge said he was prepared to adjourn the matter for a short period until Wednesday's sitting of the court.

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