Academic on €154,000 salary with no work to do accuses president of Maynooth

Professor says Philip Nolan acted as ‘judge, jury and executioner’

Maynooth University president Prof Philip Nolan, who is also chairman of Nphet’s modelling group on Covid-19. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

Maynooth University president Prof Philip Nolan, who is also chairman of Nphet’s modelling group on Covid-19. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

 

President of Maynooth University Philip Nolan has been accused of acting as “judge, jury and executioner” in dealing with a row between two senior academics which has left one professor on an annual salary of €154,000 without work for almost five years.

Prof Robert Galavan told the Labour Court on Thursday that Prof Nolan – who is also chairman of the National Public Health Emergency Team’s modelling group on Covid-19 – decided the dispute would be resolved by moving him into an area of academia where he had no expertise and did not support his suggestion for mediation between the parties.

Prof Galavan, who holds the chair in strategic management in the college’s school of business, claims he has had no effective work since 2016 after being placed on secondment by the president to the Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention, despite having no expertise in mediation.

Unfair process

He told a resumed hearing in the case that he was “dragged through a process that only the president had control of” and was subject to an unfair process.

The senior academic is appealing a ruling by the Workplace Relations Commission that he had not made a protected disclosure under the terms of the relevant legislation.

Prof Galavan (55) claims he is being penalised for making protected disclosures in 2014 in which he raised concerns with the head of the school of business, Prof Peter McNamara, about governance and health and safety issues.

The hearing was told that Prof McNamara, who had succeeded Prof Galavan in the role, had made a formal complaint that his predecessor’s combative and intimidating behaviour was undermining the work of the school.

Prof Galavan said he only became aware of the complaint when he received a letter “out of the blue” from Prof Nolan in December 2014 and there had been no attempt to resolve the issues between him and Prof McNamara informally.

Done nothing wrong

Prof Galavan said the president told him in May 2016 he had done nothing wrong but the only way to resolve the dispute was by moving him to the Kennedy Institute for three years.

Although Prof Nolan had subsequently promised to meet him annually to review the situation, Prof Galavan said he had not met him since.

The hearing resumes on Friday.