The High Court has ruled that a home loans manager, suspended from his job at the Irish Nationwide, should be re-instated pending a full hearing.

Brian Fitzgibbon, from Liscahill in Thurles, was suspended earlier this month.

He claimed he had been made a scapegoat for more than €20m in loans given to solicitors Michael Lynn and Thomas Byrne.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke said the current disciplinary process against Mr Fitzgibbon was 'confused' and should not continue.

The judge ruled that Mr Fitzgibbon had established a strong, arguable case that the disciplinary inquiry had been initiated for the reasons Mr Fitzgibbon had outlined, to deflect attention from senior management.

And he ruled that Mr Fitzgibbon had also established a strong, arguable case that the Managing Director of Irish Nationwide, Michael Fingleton, had allowed deviations from the society's written lending policies.

Mr Justice Clarke also decided Mr Fitzgibbon had established a strong case that any inquiry into his conduct carried out by a person close to or answerable to Mr Fingleton would be tainted and in breach of normal and natural justice.

Mr Fitzgibbon had claimed that he was being scapegoated because difficulties had arisen in his relationship with Mr Fingleton.

He said he had never had any direct or personal dealings with the two solicitors, who each owe around €10m to Irish Nationwide.

He claimed many loans were approved without any compliance with the society's procedures. He said the entire ethos of Irish Nationwide when it came to lending was entirely informal and controlled by Michael Fingleton.

He claimed that Mr Fingleton directly approved a €4.1m loan for Michael Lynn's house in Howth, which is also mortgaged for a similar amount with at least two other financial institutions.

And Mr Fitzgibbon claimed he turned down a loan application from Thomas Byrne in April but that it was subsequently approved by Mr Fingleton after an appeal by a branch manager.