Ambulance crews to discuss action over reinstatement of spying colleague

Ambulance crews in the Mid-west will meet tonight to discuss what action to take in protest at the reinstatement of a former colleague who pleaded guilty in court to spying on female colleagues.

Former advanced paramedic Robert Murphy, aged 51, pleaded guilty to harassment after admitting to recording the activities of a work colleague on his mobile phone.

The phone had been hidden in a box of gloves with holes in it and placed on the windowsill in the toilet of the ambulance base in Tyone in Co Tipperary in May 2012.

Nenagh District Court later heard how Murphy had paid €5,000 compensation to his victim and escaped a conviction after the judge decided the Probation Act was appropriate.

The fitness to practice committee (FTP) of the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council conducted a hearing into the matter and concluded Mr Murphy’s actions amounted to professional misconduct.

After winning his case at the Employment Appeals Tribunal, Mr Murphy has now been reinstated to a position within the National Ambulance Service (NAS). It’s understood he will take up an administrative role in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.

Since news of Mr Murphy’s reinstatement emerged last Monday night, an ambulance officer has resigned his position and returned to rostered duties as an advanced paramedic.

Now, ambulance para- medics in the Mid-west have organised a meeting for tonight in Nenagh where they will discuss what action they will take in protest at Mr Murphy’s reinstatement.

One paramedic said: “This meeting is open to NAS staff members nationally regardless of their rank, union or clinical level. The agenda is open but will concentrate on recent disgraceful events. We are all saddened that we’ve lost our ops officer but we are very proud of his decision to step down. I believe he deserves our support.

“Also, it’s a disgrace that management didn’t see fit to inform the paramedic who was filmed that Mr Murphy had won his appeal and had been reinstated. She should have been the first person to be told this and shouldn’t have had to read it in the papers.”

The HSE confirmed: “Following a decision by the Employment Appeals Tribunal the individual was reinstated to a post in the National Ambulance Service (NAS). The individual is not working in front line services.”

Ambulance staff have claimed that Murphy will get over €100,000 from the HSE for earnings lost while he was suspended from duties. The HSE refutes this.


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