The chief financial officer with the Irish Greyhound Board claims that a disciplinary process brought against him by his employer is flawed, lacks independence and breaches his contract of employment.
Michael Murnane, the IGB's chief financial officer since 2011, is the subject of a disciplinary process arising out of two allegations of misconduct, which he denies. It is alleged he inadequately managed company bank accounts to the extent that overdraft interest of €14,000-€21,000 was unnecessarily incurred.
It is also alleged that, in breach of company policy in early 2019, he used a company credit card to purchase a gift voucher for a departing work colleague. Arising out of these allegations, Mr Murnane was summoned to a disciplinary meeting. Mr Murnane “absolutely rejects” the allegations of wrongdoing against him and described the claim in relation to the overdraft as “a bolt from the blue”.
Salary of €119,000
He claims the process lacks independence and he has a contractual entitlement to have the matters investigated by an external independent third party. He fears the process could result in him losing his €119,000 a year plus allowances job with the defendant and that his reputation will be damaged. As a result of the disciplinary process against him, Mr Murnane, who has been out on sick leave for some time, wants various court orders, including an injunction preventing the IGB continuing with the disciplinary hearing against him.
The IGB, represented by Mark Connaughton SC and Lorna Lynch, opposes the application, says the internal investigation process should be allowed to proceed and rejects Mr Murnane's claims of entitlement to an external investigation.
The application came before Mr Justice Tony O'Connor on Tuesday who adjourned the matter to next week. Mr Murnane, represented by Cliona Kimber SC, says he repaid the money used to pay for the voucher out of his own pocket a few weeks after it had been purchased.
He also claims the overdraft came about after the board suggested putting money obtained by the IGB following the sale of Harold's Cross stadium in 2018 into a separate ringfenced bank account. He said IGB chief executive Gerard Dollard wanted the money in the current account so no overdraft would be needed. Mr Murnane claims it was extremely unfair that he be held personally liable for the overdraft. The claims are denied.