The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has written to members outlining the legal reasons it says are behind its decision to reject a request from disenchanted doctors for an extraordinary general meeting.
A group of 123 doctors had signed a petition requesting that an EGM take place to debate a number of motions they had proposed. These included a call for an interim CEO who had “no previous connection” with the organisation; for all minutes of the council, management committee, and remuneration committee for the past 12 years to be made available to members; and for a new, elected subcommittee to oversee an external financial investigation of the union’s affairs.
However the IMO said legal advice indicated there were legal implications in relation to a CEO with no previous ties to the organisation, the IMO said it could not comply with this because of an “established practice in the IMO that existing staff have the right to compete for proposed positions”.
The IMO said releasing minutes of meetings raised “potential difficulties of data protection, confidentiality, defamation and possible other issues”.
A motion calling for a subcommittee elected by members to oversee an external independent investigation of the financial and management activities over the past 12 years, could not go-ahead on the grounds that members had no power to form a committee, the IMO said.
The reasons for refusing the EGM were outlined by IMO president Dr Paul McKeown, who said the council understood the concerns of members, but the organisation could not “get bogged down in internal wrangling” at a time when it was under “attack by Government in respect of contractual issues”.
The strained relations between the IMO council and doctors came to a head following revelations its outgoing CEO, George McNeice, was entitled to a remuneration package of €9.7m. A breakaway group of doctors had tried to force an EGM, but the IMO council has now set the agenda, calling an EGM for Mar 23 with its own motions.
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