Dean of Christ Church accused of bullying
A former musical director of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin has told an Employment Appeals Tribunal that the cathedral’s dean, the Rev Dermot Dunne, was “aggressive” and “physically intimidating” towards her.
Judy Martin said yesterday that she found him “quite frightening” at a meeting on December 16th, 2008. She could not understand the reasons for his “irrational outburst” but she took from the meeting that he felt the choir was overshadowing events at the cathedral.
Ms Martin, who was employed at the cathedral from June 2003 to January 2011, has taken a case of constructive dismissal against her employers.
She has claimed she was subjected to “persistent, serious bullying” by the dean, who was appointed in 2008. There were “constant anti-English references” made, she said, and she was ignored and patronised. The claims are denied.
The tribunal was told Ms Martin was earning €34,000 a year and had rent-free accommodation in the deanery.
In the new year, she began to develop shoulder and back pain and attributed this to stress at work. Ms Martin said the dean would be friendly at times and at other times would “blank” her. He would also forget what they had agreed on.
At a meeting in July with the dean and Ms Martin’s deputy, she said four choirs from the US due to cover holidays had pulled out. The Rev Dunne “got very angry”, she said.
Later that month, Ms Martin attended mediation arranged by the then head of the cathedral’s administration committee, Prof David Croke, after she had made a complaint to him.
At the meeting, the dean said she had ruined his installation by choosing the wrong tune for one of the hymns, Ms Martin said. Her medical problems deteriorated and she took some sick leave in April 2009.
In early 2010, Ms Martin told the choir details of what financial cuts might involve. She was accused of gross misconduct for revealing confidential information. She took sick leave and, after a protracted process, resigned in January 2011.
She moved back to England and underwent physical and psychological treatment. She said she was depressed and lost confidence and self-esteem. She was “unable to pray” or receive Communion as she got panic attacks in church.
The case continues.