Dublin Community Centre manager settles alleged bullying case in High Court

By Ann O'Loughlin

The Manager of a South Dublin-based Community Centre that closed suddenly in September has settled a claim for alleged bullying and harrassment she brought against her former employer.

Donna Ralph, who was appointed manager of Brookfield Youth and Community centre, Tallaght in 2008, had brought proceedings including a personal injury action against Brookfield Youth and Community Centre Ltd, which operated the centre, for alleged bullying and harassment.

She had also made complaints and a protective disclosure about the governance of the State-funded Community Centre and the defendant company.

In 2015 she also secured an injunction from the High Court preventing her employer from terminating her employment, or from communicating to any other party that she had been dismissed.

The injunction was to remain in place until her claim against the employer had been determined.

Before the case was heard Ms Ralph was informed in late September that the centre, which provided various services in West Tallaght, was to be closed resulting in all six staff members, including Ms Ralph, being made redundant.

Following the closure of the facility Ms Ralph's legal team returned to court claiming the directors of the company that operated the facility were in contempt of High Court orders not to fire her.

Barney Quirke, Bl for Ms Ralph, had questioned the bona fides of the decision to close the facility.

Counsel said Ms Ralph believed the true reason for the closure is to prevent and frustrate a review being conducted by the Department for Children and Youth Affairs into the governance of the defendant company arising out of matters contained in her protective disclosures.

The directors are Mr David Hoare of Brookfield Drive, Tallaght and Helena Mullen-Darcy of Rossfield Avenue, Brookfield, Tallaght, who represented themselves in court and had denied any wrongdoing.

The proceedings came before Mr Justice Paul Gilligan who adjourned the action on several occasions.

Today following talks between the various parties Mr Quirke told the judge the claims had been settled, and could be adjourned to later this month to allow for the implementation of the settlement agreement.

The Judge welcomed the settlement.


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