Tribunal told information in emails could put National Gallery at risk of ‘attack’
Unfair dismissal case being brought against the gallery by senior security attendant
The National Gallery of Ireland. Information contained in emails at the centre of an unfair dismissal case added up to a “shopping list of information that you might desire if you were planning an attack on the National Gallery”, the Employment Appeals Tribunal heard yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke
Information contained in emails at the centre of an unfair dismissal case added up to a “shopping list of information that you might desire if you were planning an attack on the National Gallery”, the Employment Appeals Tribunal heard yesterday.
Christiaan Clotworthy, security and buildings officer at the National Gallery of Ireland, was giving evidence in an unfair dismissal case being brought against the gallery by senior security attendant David Fox.
At a previous sitting the tribunal heard that, following a fire that occurred in a lane adjacent to the gallery, an employee of an outside security contractor was dismissed.
That individual later brought a case to a rights commissioner over the dismissal and prepared a written submission.
The gallery’s internal email monitoring system subsequently flagged a number of emails between Mr Fox and the individual, a number of which included drafts of this submission.
Mr Clotworthy identified 14 points of security information in the email which he said might invite an attack if it fell into the wrong hands.
John Fitzpatrick, a former detective superintendent with the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said that in his view, a number of the points of security information contained in the email would be “invaluable material to people involved in criminal activity” and that some of the information had the potential to be used in a “tiger kidnapping situation”.
In his cross-examination of the witnesses, Mr Fox’s legal representative, Andrew Fergus, put it to the witnesses that the information was in some cases ambiguous, in others “pretty standard” security protocol, or information that was already in the public domain.
Earlier in the day the former director of the gallery, Raymond Keaveney, said Mr Fox’s actions, when taken together, constituted a “tsunami of unacceptable behaviour”. Mr Keaveney said that, on the “balance of probability”, he believed Mr Fox had been involved in drafting the submission.
He said the draft included sensitive security information, contained “highly inaccurate” statements about the gallery and referred to named individuals in the gallery in a “derogatory manner”, which constituted a “breach of trust at a personal level” as well as at an institutional level.
He said it was “quite incredible” that a senior member of security “would be associated with a document like this”.
Mr Fox, who is due to give evidence to the tribunal today, denies that he authored any part of the submission and maintains that he only assisted the employee with grammar contained in the document as English was not the individual’s first language.