Sunday, August 24, 2008

Parish In Bray (1)

The story behind the story

What has been happening to date in the long running saga between a local Parish Priest in an Unfair Dismissal case and the Parish Secretary.

Details had until this week been kept from the local Parishioners who have a right to know what is going on in their Church in Bray, County Wicklow.



Claim of: Ms. Margaret O’Hehir
Against: Fr. Larry White PP Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish

“Recognising the unusual circumstances of the case the Tribunal find that the procedure, used by the respondent to dismiss the Claimant was not in accordance with the Industrial Relations Acts.

The Claimant tendered her resignation in May 2005 but the employer instead of dealing with it at that time believed that he was entitled to retain it and act upon it at a later date of his choosing. This he purported to do in September 2005.

At a meeting on 16th September 2005 he told the Claimant that he was accepting her resignation. Some days later he changed this to suspension without pay. A short time after this he changed the suspension without pay to with pay.

In January 2006 he stopped paying the Claimant.

In June 2006 he dismissed her.

This in the opinion of the Tribunal was an unfair procedure”.

As the dismissal was procedurally unfair—”The Tribunal award the Claimant the sum of €1560 (being the equivalent of four weeks’ pay), as the minimum award allowed under the Unfair
Dismissals Acts, 1997 to 2001.

Sealed with the Seal of the Employment Appeals Tribunal this 24th day of October 2007. P.J. O’Leary (CHAIRMAN).

In spite of the Tribunal’s decision the Respondent Fr. Larry White PP has appealed the above decision to the Circuit Court for a hearing and it is now on a waiting list.

In spite of the Tribunal’s decision the Respondent Fr. Larry White PP has appealed the above decision to the Circuit Court for a 4 day hearing and it is now on a waiting list.


Laurence White—Employer and Respondent
Mrs. Margaret O’Hehir—Employee and Claimant

Regarding complaint to The Rights Commissioner by Claimant Ms. Margaret O’Hehir “The claimant seeks redress for the alleged breaches of the Terms of Employment Information Act”.


I have carefully considered the evidence as presented by the parties. There is no doubt that there was an original written agreement between the parties and that there were discussions in amending the documentation to take care of the enhanced rate of pay and also the number of hours that would be available for work under the contract.

However the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 states in section 3, subsection (4) that such statement furnished by an employer to an employee under section 3 (subsection (1)0 should be signed and dated by the employer and a copy (subsection 3(5)) retained during the period of the employees employment and period of 1 year thereafter.

It is evidenced that there is no signed copy qualifying the existing period of employment nor is there a written letter indicating that the contract under discussion for amendment was being enacted by the respondent giving the usual 1 month notice.

I therefore find that the claimant presented a valid complaint and award her the sum of €300 in full and final settlement of breaches under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994.

Signed Mark A. McGrath

Rights Commissioner

15th June 2007.


It should be noted that legal fees for Fr. White are being paid for by you the Parishioner or the Parish unlike Ms. O’Hehir who has to foot her own legal bills.

i.e. Fr. White announced before all collections at Masses this weekend that his fees were paid by Parish Insurance BUT the premiums for the Parish insurance are paid out of the contributions of the Parishioners for the running of the Parish!!!


In both cases to date an award was made in favour of the Claimant although the second award is disputed by Fr. White and as stated an appeal has been lodged against it.

It should be noted that a third case is awaiting a date for hearing before THE EQUALITY TRIBUNAL in Dublin in regard to serious complaints made to the Employer while the
Claimant was still in employment and which were not dealt with satisfactorily.

Further notice will issue from our group with the results of this hearing in due course.

Sincere thanks to the many hundreds of Parishioners who signed the Petition for Margaret’s Reinstatement.

A Mass has already been offered for their intentions.

Thanks to all for your ongoing support for Margaret over the past two and a half years in her quest for justice.

For those who are not aware of it—as a Church going Parishioner in Queen of Peace since 1989 Margaret was also removed from both the Parish Council and Liturgy Groups because of the employment dispute which should not have affected her rights or standing as a Parishioner.

She was also refused permission to be a Special Minister of the Eucharist.

Parishioners hear the Parish is ALL INCLUSIVE but that is not the case—you can be treated as ‘a leper’ overnight.

This Newsletter is sponsored and distributed by a group of concerned church going Catholic Parishioners and supporters and is being distributed by them to highlight the continuing injustice towards our friend Margaret who was a highly dedicated Parish Secretary serving our Parish for over 4 years and was treated in high regard by all who know her we take grave exception as to the way our Parish has been demoralised and the truth has been suppressed.



He died for ALL of us—not for the CHOSEN FEW.

Why then does Queen of Peace exclude those they feel are not ‘in favour’?



Dyann, Marie, Ann, Tracey, Mary, Kevin, Jeannie, Pauline,
Betty, Alan, Mark, Tony, Robert, Stephen, Billy, + others.

***** UPDATE *****

Update is the Parish Priest has 'suddenly' gone off for 5 months 'break from his Parish' for what he says is on Doctor's advice.

Parishioners think it is more likely this is the start of his 'phasing out' even though he has 3 more of his 9 years to serve at the Parish.

The Secretary has gone through 3 years of 'hell' trying to clear her good name and rubbish the 'bought and paid for' medical reports against her - clearance of which can be seen in the copies of her medical reports within the article.

Very strange too it seems that possibly 'The Church' had this site story closed down permanently as things were 'heating up' too much for the PP.

The newsletter given to all the homes in the Parish by Secretary and her supporters outlining the truth and Indymedia finally made Archbishop's House sit up and take notice after sitting on their hands for almost 3 years.

One wonders now with two more cases pending - Equality Tribunal hearing for porn in the workplace and sexual harrassment and Appeal of Unfair Dismissal if this PP will be 'indisposed indefinitely' due to this 'sudden illness'?

Time will tell.

In the meantime the Parish still seems to be split down the middle by the mishandling of affairs there over something that should never have happened in the first place.

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