Crier claims move by Courts Service to terminate his role ‘unlawful’

Martin Walsh has worked for various judges since leaving Defence Forces in 2001

A court crier has brought a High Court challenge over a decision by the Courts Service to terminate his employment. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

A court crier has brought a High Court challenge over a decision by the Courts Service to terminate his employment. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

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A court crier has brought a High Court challenge over a decision by the Courts Service to terminate his employment.

Martin Walsh has been tipstaff or crier to Circuit Court Judge Doirbhile Flanagan of the Circuit Court since 2012 and worked in a similar role with other judges since 2001 after retiring from the Defence Forces.

He was informed by the Courts Service in August, due to the retirement of Judge Flanagan this month,that his employment would be terminated.

Represented by Ken Fogarty SC and James Doran BL, Mr Walsh has brought judicial review proceedings against the Courts Service challenging that decision.

He claims the decision is unlawful because he has acquired a contract of indefinite duration. He claims the initial terms of his contract were that his appointment was temporary, could be terminated at any time, had a compulsory retirement age of 65 years, and he would have to vacate the position when the judge he worked with leaves office.

He claims he was in 2005 appointed to an established position as a court crier within the Courts Service. Despite holding talks with human resources representatives of the Courts Service, he claims the situation has not been resolved.

In his action Mr Walsh, of North King Street, Dublin 7, wants various orders and declarations including quashing the decision to terminate his employment and compelling the Courts Service to maintain him in employment.

Mr Walsh also seeks declarations including that, in accordance with the 2003 Protection of Employees Work Act, he has acquired a Contract of Indefinite Duration by operation of law.

Permission to bring the case was granted on an ex parte basis (one side only represented) by Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Friday.

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