Gun body director accuses members of trying to ‘exact vengeance’

Des Crofton secures temporary injunction preventing dismissal from gun club association

The national director of a body representing hundreds of gun clubs has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing his purported dismissal from the organisation.

Des Crofton sought the order against the National Association of Regional Game Councils, which regulates game shooting clubs. It has some 24,000 members in about 960 clubs involved in game shooting and conservation.

Mr Crofton, Croghan, Co Offaly, was suspended from his position some weeks ago following allegations he conspired against the association in respect of litigation against it and secretly recorded meetings with some members of the association's executive.

Mr Crofton was informed in recent days the association’s executive is to recommend to its governing body next week his employment should be terminated, the court heard.


Mr Crofton, employed by the association since 1991, denies any wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, Ms Justice Caroline Costello granted Mr Crofton a temporary injunction preventing the association from terminating his contract of employment, taking any further steps in the purported disciplinary or investigative process or publishing or making any false utterances regarding Mr Crofton's suspension.

The injunction, granted on an ex-parte basis, was returned to later this week.


In a sworn statement, Mr Crofton said the litigation against the association relates to alleged indemnities it gave to gun owners who brought High Court actions over licensing laws.

The litigation arose after the association took issue with the indemnities, he said. He said he never knew why the indemnities were not honoured and he had made this view known to his employer.

The association had denied the relevant indemnities were issued and he could not support such denials and would not give false evidence if the matter came to trial, he said.

The complaint of conspiracy against him is an attempt by individuals in the association to use their influence “to exact vengeance” on him, he said.

He also said he had recorded meetings because he feared his good name was being destroyed and his employment was at risk.

As allegations had been made against him, he wanted clear evidence he had answered questions put to him by members of the executive during a meeting and did not trust certain members of the committee to treat him fairly, he said.

Mr Crofton said he had unintentionally recorded part of a meeting which he was asked to leave and where he was described as being “a nasty piece of work” and alleged to have “almost single-handedly destroyed the organisation”.

Mr Crofton, represented by Marguerite Bolger SC, said the investigation or disciplinary process the association has engaged in is flawed, biased and breaches fair procedures. Mr Crofton has made a separate complaint against his employer alleging bullying.

Ms Bolger said her client fears for his reputation and his employment and had no objection to an investigation being conducted by an independent person. The investigation into the bullying complaint is being conducted by an independent person, she added.