A garda who was stationed at Ballymote, Co Sligo astounded the Labour Court yesterday when she claimed she was left to "starve at the side of the road" and "ground into debt" when she was removed from the force's payroll.
Garda Maire O'Reilly -- with an address at Dorney Court, Shankill, Dublin -- who has been out of work on health and safety grounds, said she was unfairly taken off the payroll in 2009.
She outlined how she had submitted a formal complaint documenting, over a three-year period, "breaches of legal and garda procedures in the workplace, including bullying at work on December 21, 2009."
"I duly made made a written complaint to the Garda Commissioner, which as per my original bullying complaint, has not been investigated yet," she said.
She said that rather than investigating her complaints, Garda authorities had sought to “opt out” and sully her character while attempting to starve her into submission, with no income for three years, in an apparent attempt to encourage her to withdraw the complaint.
However the hearing descended into chaos as Garda O'Reilly objected to the presence of the Labour Court chairman, certain members of an Garda Siochana and representatives from the State Solicitor's office.
According to the Irish Independent
, Chairman of the Labour Court, Kevin Duffy, pictured
, came under a sustained and heated attack from Ms O'Reilly and walked out of a hearing.
Garda O'Reilly handed out a number of documents during the hearing including letters she had written outlining her case to the Taoiseach, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan which she read into evidence.
Ms O'Reilly appeared before the Rights Commissioner some months previously where she sought to appeal her case to the Labour Court.
She said one of the grounds of appealing was the Rights Commissioners showed "demonstrable legal bias in the conduct of their hearings".
She added she had objected to the lack of "impartiality and bullying behaviour" of Kevin Duffy, Labour Court chairman, and asked that he would not chair the hearing yesterday.
On several occasions Mr Duffy attempted to get Ms O'Reilly to make her case. "Will you please make your case or do you wish to turn these proceedings into a circus?" he asked her.
The chairman rose twice for 10-minute intervals and asked Ms O'Reilly to "reflect on whether she wished to proceed".
Ms O'Reilly repeatedly told the chairman to "sit up straight and answer her" and “take your hands down from your mouth and stop muffling your answers and stonewalling."
Mr Duffy said the court had "indulged her extensive submissions on areas of peripheral relevance."
"There are limits Ms O'Reilly, don't push me" he said.
Mr Duffy eventually walked out of proceedings on the grounds that Ms O'Reilly refused to proceed with her case.