Malone to help run stud after bullying report

THE man who investigated bullying and harassment allegations at University College Cork has been appointed to help run the embattled Irish National Stud (INS) on a temporary basis.

John Malone, the former secretary general at the Department of Agriculture, stepped in after the retirement of chief executive John Clarke.

An internal report on the INS by the former chairman of the Labour Court Finbarr Flood, found Mr Clarke had bullied and harassed the company’s stallions’ nominations manager Julie Lynch.

The Irish Examiner has established Mr Clarke was the subject of disciplinary procedures after the board of the INS received Mr Flood’s report. The precise details of the procedures are not known. They were ongoing when he signalled his intention to take early retirement last September.

The INS said Mr Clarke retired of his own volition and the date of his departure was mutually agreed to suit business purposes.

It has also been confirmed Mr Malone was first appointed as a facilitator last year so all senior managers could work together in the wake of the report. This was deemed to have been required to ensure a safe environment for Ms Lynch’s return to work.

Mr Flood’s report said there was no way Mr Clarke and Ms Lynch could work together on an ongoing basis.

Mr Clarke did not make a statement.

Mr Malone chaired his first management meeting this week. The INS said it is in the process of recruiting Mr Clarke’s replacement.

The INS said Mr Malone’s position did not equate to that of chief executive but he would work above senior staff to help manage the Government-owned company.

“Mr Malone is assisting the company by chairing management meetings and by dealing with urgent business management issues as they arise on an as needed basis. The day to day management is being dealt with by the existing management team,” it said.

In 2006 Mr Malone was asked to report on 50 allegations of bullying and mismanagement made against former UCC president Gerry Wrixon.

His report, published in February 2007, said some allegations stacked up but they were too minor to justify another investigation by the then education minister, Mary Hanafin.

Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith has asked the chairman of the INS, Chryss O’Reilly, wife of Tony O’Reilly, to report on its handling of bullying allegations made against Mr Clarke and the company.

A statement from the INS said it will provide the minister with a report dealing with a number of allegations. However, it did not outline the nature of the disciplinary procedures put in place last summer or confirm if the facilitator is still in place.

“As previously indicated the board is reporting to the minister on a number of matters and will be making no comment until such time as it has reported to the minister,” it said.

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