A review has begun into the "reasons and circumstances," behind the decision of the Training Ombudsman in Aer Lingus to resign from the post.
The review was jointly agreed between the Irish Air Line Pilots Association and the Aer Lingus Group on August 25th. A preliminary report is due on the matter on September 30th and a final report on October 31st.
The review began after the ombudsman Louise Gilroy resigned from her position after examining a dispute about the promotion of a co-pilot to the position of pilot. Ms Gilroy continues in her day-to-day position as a pilot with the airline.
In her resignation letter, dated July 24th, Ms Gilroy said she had been asked to review a particular case but felt she had “not been able to carry of the function of the role”.
“I have been unable to persuade the Command Review Board [which considers the promotion of pilots in Aer Lingus] of the gravity of my concerns,” she wrote.
“The CRB has proceeded to a conclusion on this case, notwithstanding the fact that I remain unsatisfied about a number of issues. I remain uncomfortable with the checking process and the subsequent review process.” As a result, Ms Gilroy said her position was “untenable”. The decision made by the CRB is understood to relate to its decision not to promote an experienced co-pilot to the position of pilot.
The position of Training Ombudsman is described in the terms of reference of the review as “one of the main pillars to ensure fair play and natural justice for all Aer Lingus pilots in the training and checking process in particular the command check process”.
The importance of this role according to the agreed terms of reference “cannot be overestimated.” Under the terms of the review, independent experts will “have access – as they deem necessary – to files, records and minutes of meetings of the Command Review Board in addition to the interviewing of witnesses to the events giving rise to this resignation.
“Furthermore, the expert group should be permitted . . . to make conclusions and recommendations based on their findings in this review,” the terms of reference state.
The experts are empowered to bring in junior counsel if required to “ensure procedural fairness in this review.”
* Ms Gilroy has asked us to clarify that she was not responsible for passing her letter of resignation to The Irish Times and that she did not communicate with The Irish Times about the matter.