Saolta Hospital Group head wants court to stop HSE removing him from his job

Maurice Power claims he is entitled to contract of indefinite duration but HSE is interviewing to fill his post

 

The CEO of a group that runs several public hospitals in the west has taken a High Court case aimed at preventing the HSE removing him from his role.

Maurice Power is the CEO of Saolta University Health Care Group, which runs public hospitals in counties Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal.

The group has more than 10,000 staff and an annual budget of more than €850m and Mr Power receives an annual salary of €151,000, the court heard.

He has been group CEO since October 2014, having previously held several other positions within the public health service.

The HSE is currently interviewing candidates for the position of CEO.

Mr Power, represented by Ray Ryan BL, applied for the job and was called to a preliminary interview but was not invited to the second round of interviews.

Counsel said Mr Power’s case is that he was wrongfully forced to apply for his own role and the recruitment process cannot lawfully be held.

His client has appealed the decision not to include him in the second round and has also lodged a claim with the Workplace Relations Commission.

As a result of being employed on five successive fixed term contracts, he claims he is now, under the 2003 Protection of Employment Act, entitled to be treated as having a contract of indefinite duration in respect of his role as group CEO.

He claims he is entitled to such a contract because he has acquired four years of continuous service in the post.

The HSE disputes his claim, the court heard.

In his proceedings, Mr Power, of Homefarm, Moycullen, Galway, wants various orders, including an injunction preventing the HSE terminating his employment as CEO or appointing anyone else to the position until the case has been determined.

On Wednesday, Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds granted permission to serve short notice of the injunction application on the HSE and returned the matter to next week