A FORMER special adviser to retired Cork South West TD, Jim Daly (FG) has lost an expenses dispute with the secretary general at the Department of Health.
This follows the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) finding that the un-named ministerial special adviser’s workplace grievance is not well-founded.
The dispute arose from the secretary general at the Dept of Health designating the Dept’s Dublin office as the special adviser’s ‘headquarters’ for his place of work.
Dept employees are not allowed expenses travelling to and from designated headquarters.
The Ministerial adviser worked primarily from the former Minister’s constituency office and argued that this should have been designated his HQ so that he could avail of expenses travelling to and from Dublin.
The adviser pointed out that the bottom line to his claim was when he must leave home to travel to the Dáil to carry out his duties for Minister Daly, he received no travel subsistence or overnight as his designated HQ is based at the Department’s offices in Dublin.
The adviser worked for the former Cork South West TD and Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People and Minister Daly retired from politics after opting not to contest this year’s election.
The adviser argued that he has a colleague who works off the same contract, carries out the same duties and has a similar work pattern, and he is reimbursed for both his travel and his overnight accommodation. He contended that all he is seeking is fairness and natural justice and he feels deeply aggrieved by the situation.
However, WRC adjudication Officer Jim Dolan said that he could not find any breach of any legislation and stated that the secretary general has the final say in determining the headquarters of the department’s employees.
The Dept stated that the adviser’s claim is defeated by the very fact that he willingly signed and returned his contract which endorsed his HQ as the Dept’s Dublin offices.
The Dept stated that it entered into a contract with the adviser in good faith and any attempt to now frustrate or vary that agreement contrary to the agreement of the Dept runs contrary to that provision.