Flight attendant seeks High Court injunction against Aer Lingus
DAA’s refusal to renew airside access card led to dismissal, claims cabin crew member
Counsel for Mr Delaney said the decision to dismiss their client had been taken without any legal or contractual basis or any recourse to the airline’s detailed disciplinary procedure. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Lorcan Delaney claims Aer Lingus took action against him after Dublin Airport operator DAA declined to re-issue his airside access card following a Garda vetting process.This card is required to access secure areas in the airport. He had initially been placed on unpaid leave last December after an issue over the card’s renewal arose.
Represented by Marguerite Bolger SC, and Brendan Hennessy BL, Mr Delaney claims his employment was terminated in recent days. He does not know why Aer Lingus escalated matters from a suspension to a termination and what procedures were implemented in his situation, the court was told.
Mr Delaney, who has worked for the airline since 2015, said in a sworn statement that he went to renew his card last December. As part of that process he had to undergo Garda vetting. He said that an issue was raised during that process. It relates to a summons Mr Delaney received concerning an allegation he was found in possession of a controlled drug, cannabis and MDMA for personal use, contrary to Section 3 of the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act at a music festival at Slane Castle on June 8th, 2019.
That summons remains pending before the District Court.
Mr Delaney says, if he is not convicted of the offence and if it is dealt with under the Probation Act, no conviction will appear on any future vetting certificate he might apply for.
He said that other Aer Lingus staff who were summoned to court for non-minor road traffic offences did not have their employment terminated.
After the issue with his card arose he asked Aer Lingus if he could be redeployed to areas at Dublin Airport where an access card is not required but that application was not successful.
Counsel said the decision to dismiss Mr Delaney had been taken without any legal or contractual basis or any recourse to the airline’s detailed disciplinary procedure.
Aer Lingus has claimed that a requirement to have an access card is fundamental in terms of her client’s contract of employment, Ms Bolger said. However, the requirement is not mentioned in his contract, nor is any reference made to any consequence arising from issues raised during the Garda vetting process.
In his proceedings, Mr Delaney of Castlefarm, Swords, Co Dublin seeks various orders against Aer Lingus including preventing the airline from terminating his employment. He also seeks an injunction preventing Aer Lingus from treating him as being otherwise than employed with the airline, and that it continues to pay him his salary and benefits. He claims his purported termination is null and void and he remains employed as cabin crew. Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds granted permission on Wednesday to serve short notice of the proceedings against the airline and returned the matter to Friday.