AIB manager rejects 11 findings of bullying against him

A senior manager with Allied Irish Bank has told the High Court he does not accept he bullied anyone despite an internal bank investigation upholding 11 complaints against him.

John Heapes, head of commercial banking in AIB Galway, denies bullying Seán McHugh during his employment as a senior manager at AIB's business centre in the city.

Mr McHugh (54), Ballard, Barna, Co Galway, has sued AIB arising from his alleged treatment by his superior in late 2010 and during 2011.

An investigation by AIB upheld 11 complaints against Mr Heapes, made no decision on four others and dismissed nine. A report made several recommendations arising from the investigation but Mr McHugh claims those were not implemented by AIB. He also claims bullying continued while the matter was under investigation.


Mr McHugh, represented by Ercus Stewart SC, claims he was subject to bullying and harassment by Mr Heapes, who was appointed to his position in October 2010, and that he and other staff were isolated and intimidated by Mr Heapes.

Mr McHugh also claimed he was suspended on full pay in September 2012 in retaliation for making the bullying claim but, on the fourth day of the action yesterday, Mr Justice Paul Gilligan was informed that was no longer being pursued.

Mr Stewart said Mr McHugh was prepared to co-operate with AIB’s investigation into allegations against him, including that he had a conflict of interest over sanctioning loans of up to €100,000 to some directors of Galway United FC.

Mr Heapes told Brian O’Moore SC, for AIB, he was shocked when the 11 complaints of bullying were upheld. While he did not agree with the findings, he had not appealed them as he wanted to “draw a line” under the matter and move on.

The case continues.