Man dismissed by ESB considered security risk to national infrastructure
Graham Light (36) secures temporary High Court order preventing termination of his job
The High Court heard 36-year-old employee was called to a meeting with senior officials on October 11th where he was informed an external security team had advised the ESB the gardaí considered him a “person of interest”.
Graham Light said he was shocked and upset after being fired from his role as Commercial and Risk Advisor with the ESB’s corporate team on October 11th last.
Mr Light (36) said he has qualifications in insurance, an “exemplary” record and had been promoted during his two years employment with the ESB.
He said he was called to a meeting with senior officials on October 11th where he was informed an external security team had advised the ESB the gardaí considered him a “person of interest”.
He was informed he was believed to be a security risk to Ireland and the UK’s national infrastructure, he said.
Mr Light, of Castlegate Grove, Adamstown, Dublin, said he was taken aback at the accusations. In a sworn statement, he said he protested the allegations and told the ESB officials he does not even have penalty points for speeding, never mind what has been alleged against him. The ESB could not tell him what he was being accused of, he said.
On Friday, lawyers for Mr Light secured an injunction preventing the ESB giving effect to his purported dismissal or stopping payment of his salary and benefits.
The interim injunction was granted on an ex-parte basis (one side only represented) by Ms Justice Marie Baker and returned to next week.
Describing the case as “unusual”, the judge said, from the evidence before the court, the decision to terminate Mr Light’s employment appeared “draconian”.
Ercus Stewart SC, with John Curran BL, for Mr Light, said he had “never come across” a situation like this “in his entire career”.
In his affidavit, Mr Light said he was given a letter at the meeting which stated he posed a risk to critical national infrastructure in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and that day, October 11th 2017, was the last day of his employment with the ESB.
The meeting was also attended by a union official, who said what was happening was highly irregular, unfair and the union had never come across something like this before, he said.
The official with the Energy Services Union had asked if Mr Light, who had worked with the ESB for almost two years, could be reassigned to another department within the ESB but the company response was that could not be done, Mr Light said.
Mr Light said he was told the ESB was open to him resigning instead of being fired.
He said he was asked if he would agree to accept some money to find a new job and was offered a reference that was merely a statement of employment rather than the standard ESB reference.
He was told he would not be allowed back into the building and the ESB’s security workers had collected and stuffed most of his belongings into a bag.
As he left the premises, Mr Light said it appeared there were extra security workers on the floor and in reception.
He claims this purported dismissal is hugely damaging and caused irreparable harm to his career and reputation.
He said he had been encouraged by people in the company to apply for a position in the ESB Corporate Department and subsequently secured that.
The ESB’s actions have left him traumatised and have badly affected his health, he said.