Former Irish Nationwide manager Brendan Beggan loses dismissal claim

Wednesday 30 January 2013 17.44
Brendan Beggan was dismissed from his position as a branch manager in 2009
Brendan Beggan was dismissed from his position as a branch manager in 2009

A former manager with Irish Nationwide Building Society has lost his claim for unfair dismissal for failing to repay a mortgage after selling a property.

Brendan Beggan of Iterera, Scotstown, Co Monaghan was dismissed from his position as a branch manager in 2009.

He was dismissed after Irish Nationwide, now known as Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, claimed he had failed to pay back a mortgage taken out on properties after those properties had been sold.

Irish Nationwide had also argued that he had failed to notify them of the sale of the properties and that his conduct justified summary dismissal.

At the Employment Appeals Tribunal, Mr Beggan had accepted that he had failed to repay the mortgage.

However, he alleged he had permission from then chief executive Michael Fingleton not to pay back the mortgages when the properties were sold.

Mr Beggan said that a "culture and practice" existed within the building society that allowed him to secure the mortgages.

He told the tribunal that he had 13 mortgage applications and his repayments were in excess of his monthly salary.

Mr Beggan alleged that he was in fear of Mr Fingleton.

He had also claimed that Mr Fingleton had asked for an investigation into his accounts in 2007, because Mr Beggan's partner Olivia Greene was testifying against Mr Fingleton in a court case at the time, and that the relationship with Mr Fingleton had started to deteriorate.

In sworn testimony, Mr Fingleton disputed those claims.

He rejected suggestions that there was any special relationship with Mr Beggan, or that different rules were applied to different people in regards to lending and repayment criteria and capacity.

He told the tribunal that loans were not approved at his discretion, and that while some leeway might have been afforded to Mr Beggan because he was a manager, if an exception were to be made in the lending process it would have to be referred to a third party.

Mr Fingleton said that he was not aware that the mortgage had not been repaid when the property was sold and denied that Mr Beggan had ever approached him about the mortgage.

In a two-and-a-half page ruling, the tribunal said that it regretted that it could not accept the claimant's evidence.

It found that Mr Beggan had not informed any authority in Irish Nationwide about the nature of his property dealings, about his failure to have the charge on the property registered and about the allocation of funds when the properties were sold.

It found that this amounted to a serious breach of trust as a branch manager and that Irish Nationwide had shown substantial grounds for justifying dismissal.

The hearing took place on six dates between January 2011 and February 2012.

The chairman of the tribunal hearing the case Dermot McCarthy SC issued the ruling yesterday.