Court crier launches challenge over decision to end his employment

A court crier has brought a High Court challenge over a decision by the Courts Service to terminate his employment.

The action has been taken by Martin Walsh, who has been the tipstaff or crier to Circuit Court Judge Doirbhile Flanagan of the Circuit Court since 2012.

He also has worked in a similar role with other judges since 2001 after he retired from the Defence Forces.

Last August he was informed by the Courts Service that due to the retirement of Judge Flanagan his employment would be terminated in December.

Represented by Ken Fogarty SC , Mr Walsh has brought judicial review proceedings against his employer challenging that decision.

He claims the decision is unlawful because he has acquired a contract of indefinite duration.

He claims the initial terms of his contract were that his appointment was temporary, could be terminated at any time, had a compulsory retirement age of 65 years, and he would have to vacate the position when the judge he worked with leaves office.

He claims that in 2005 he was appointed to an established position as a court crier within the court services.

Despite holding talks with HR representatives of the Courts Service, he claims the situation has not been resolved.

In his judicial review action Mr Walsh, with an address at North King Street, Dublin 7 seeks various orders and declarations.

These include an order quashing the decision of the Courts Service to terminate his employment, and an order compelling the Courts Service to maintain Mr Walsh in employment.

Mr Walsh also seeks declarations including that in accordance with sections of the 2003 Protection of Employees Work Act he has acquired a contract of indefinite duration by operation of law.

Permission to bring the case was granted, on an ex parte basis, by Mr Justice Charles Meenan.

The case will come back before the court at a later date.

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