A Dublin GAA club’s former bar manager claims she was falsely made redundant because she objected to illicit drinking in the clubhouse during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Eileen Grimes has lodged a complaint under the Unfair Dismissals Act against St Mark’s GAA club, of McGee Park, Cookstown Road, Tallaght, Dublin 24 over being “locked out” of work in April 2020.
“The locks were changed because I caught people drinking in the clubhouse,” she told the Workplace Relations Commission.
The club denied the circumstances alleged by Ms Grimes and maintained she was properly made redundant because of the impact of the pandemic.
Its representative pointed out that she had submitted her complaint some 16 months after her employment ended and that it was therefore beyond the jurisdiction of the WRC.
“I still have my keys, I’ve never been let back. In light of what’s been done by individuals... there was no place for me,” Ms Grimes told the tribunal.
Ms Grimes said the security of the bar premises was part of her job – and that she downloaded CCTV footage of the alleged incident from a third-party provider.
She said she then received correspondence from the provider saying she was no longer permitted to access that service.
She said despite her employment ending, she continued to receive phone calls and emails from suppliers and in relation to issues at the clubhouse.
Ms Grimes added that it was “rich” for the club’s legal team to make out she had made a late complaint when she had only received its submissions the day before the hearing.
The club had told her it was moving back to a voluntary model, she said, adding that she accepted her redundancy on this basis to begin with.
She argued that her rights were breached when the club readvertised her role in June 2021 and that her complaint form ought to be accepted on that basis.
“The circumstances are denied. The redundancy was Covid-related,” the club’s legal representative Kathryn Brady said.
Ms Brady added that there were further preliminary questions, including Ms Grimes’s right to take action against the club when she herself was a member; and the correct identity of the respondent party.
She added that the role which was advertised was for a clubhouse manager and not a bar manager – but Ms Grimes countered that her former duties had been incorporated into this role.
Club chairman Gary Mahon said there would be “no issue” with Ms Grimes coming to retrieve her belongings.
“I’ve met Ms Grimes previously and invited her to the club from a social point of view,” he added.
Adjudicating officer Catherine Byrne adjourned the matter to prepare a decision on the preliminary matter of jurisdiction.
“If we get over that hurdle, it’ll be heard,” she said.