The HSE is to pay upwards of €200,000 in legal costs on top of €200,000 compensation awarded for the constructive dismissal of its former head of ambulance services, Frank McClintock.
Mr McClintock (49), who lives in Derry, resigned after the improper use of a fuel card had emerged.
The Employment Appeals Tribunal had previously found that although Mr McClintock was constructively dismissed, he should not get compensation because of “pre-dismissal events”. He appealed that decision to the Circuit Civil Court.
The HSE also appealed, asking the court to overturn the tribunal’s finding of constructive dismissal.
Judge Alan Mahon found that Mr McClintock’s use of the fuel card for his private car was inappropriate and that he would probably have faced suspension, or indeed dismissal, in any internal inquiry. Fearing suspension and dismissal, as well as a threatened referral to the gardai, he had resigned.
However, the judge said Mr McClintock’s anxiety to resign was a consequence of his discovery at an early stage that he had been found guilty of very serious misconduct without having been afforded the opportunity to defend himself.
Mr McClintock’s resignation had not been voluntary and the court held that his constructive dismissal had been close to catastrophic for his career.
The judge was told yesterday that the parties had agreed to accept his earlier determination of a €250,000 award, less a contributory factor of €50,000 to mark McClintock’s personal use of a HSE fuel card.
Yesterday’s hearing was listed to deal with the matter of legal costs. The cost to the HSE of the 11-day court hearing and a four-day hearing in the Employment Appeals Tribunal is estimated to top €200,000.
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