Garda secures injunction preventing commissioner from ending his career

Shane Kilcoyne told services being dispensed with after he failed seventh physical fitness test

Garda Shane Kilcoyne was told last month that due to his failure to pass a physical fitness test, known as a beep test, which is a part of his degree course, his services were being dispensed with. File Photograph:  Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Garda Shane Kilcoyne was told last month that due to his failure to pass a physical fitness test, known as a beep test, which is a part of his degree course, his services were being dispensed with. File Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

 

A garda has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing the Garda Commissioner from dispensing with his services.

The court made the order in favour of Shane Kilcoyne, who entered the Garda Training College, Templemore in 2016, and began a BA degree course in Applied Policing.

The court heard that Garda Kilcoyne was told last month that due to his failure to pass a physical fitness test, known as a beep test, which is a part of his degree course, his services were being dispensed with from August 9th.

Garda Kilcoyne, who is currently out on leave arising out of injuries he sustained when performing his duties, failed to pass the beep test on six occasions between January 2018 and March 2019.

Garda Kilcoyne claims that arising out of his failure to pass the beep test, he was informed that he could not proceed with his degree course in Applied Policing.

However, he continued to serve as a probationary garda, and was stationed at the Bridewell Garda Station in Dublin.

During that time, he claims he was also advised that his failure to complete the academic programme could result in the Garda Commissioner dispensing with his services.

Between 2019 and 2021 his period of probation was extended on six occasions; the court was told. He claims that during this time, he understood that the ongoing review he received from his superiors at the Bridewell, and his performance on duty would count in his any assessment of his competence to serve as a member of An Garda Síochána.

Taken aback

He made submissions to the commissioner as to why he should be kept on as a member despite his failure to complete the degree course.

He said he was taken aback when informed by the commissioner in July that his services are to be dispensed with.

His removal, it was claimed, would have a significant detrimental effect on him including on his family and on his community in his native Co Mayo.

He claims that it was “manifestly unfair” for the commissioner to continue to extend his period of probation, only to use an early failing as a ground to dispense with his services.

He had expected that his faithful service as a garda, who his counsel said needed two operations on the injuries he received while on duty, would be a material consideration in evaluating his competence to serve as a Garda.

Late on Tuesday evening, lawyers for Garda Kilcoyne secured a temporary, ex parte, injunction from Mr Justice Michael Quinn preventing the commissioner from ending the applicant’s career.

The judge also granted Garda Kilcoyne permission to bring judicial review proceedings where he seeks an order quashing the commissioner’s decision to dispense with the applicant’s service.

He also seeks various declarations including that the commissioner’s decision is null and void, and that Garda Kilcoyne had a legitimate expectation that his services would not be dispensed with.

Mr Justice Quinn said he was satisfied to grant leave and the interim injunction sought. The judge made the action returnable to a date later this month.