Monday, February 11, 2013

Verger settles dismissal case

The verger of a 300-year-old Dublin church has settled his Circuit Civil Court appeal against what he alleged was his unfair dismissal by the church’s select vestry.

Suzanne Boylan, counsel for Derek O’Shaughnessy, the former curate’s attendant at St Ann’s Church of Ireland on Dawson Street, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane yesterday that the case had been settled for an undisclosed sum.

Mr O’Shaughnessy told the Circuit Court he was looking for “a Christian settlement” but up until his court appeal, nothing Christian-like had been proffered.

His solicitor, John Gerard Cullen, said the settlement included a confidentiality clause but Mr O’Shaughnessy was happy with the outcome.

It is believed Mr O’Shaughnessy, of Pembroke Gardens, Ballsbridge, settled for a year’s salary of €17,500, which is half the maximum that could have been awarded to him by the court.

Mr O’Shaughnessy had subpoenaed the Archbishop of Dublin, Most Rev Dr Michael Jackson, to attend as a witness but his legal team had already been told the archbishop was yesterday attending an international gathering of bishops in Rome.

The former verger had failed before the Employment Appeals Tribunal last year in a claim against the select vestry for unfair dismissal, which was rejected. 

The tribunal held that the church was struggling to survive and that it had proved necessary to reduce staff numbers.

The tribunal had heard that the church relied on its 30-plus parishioners, the public and tourism for income and had decided to merge the responsibilities of sexton and verger, which had resulted in Mr O’Shaughnessy’s redundancy.

Mr O’Shaughnessy had returned a number of cheques paid to him in lieu of notice and a bonus payment over and above statutory redundancy.

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