‘Disrespectful’ RNLI must pay ex-Army captain €30,000 over unfair redundancy


A Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has found the RNLI was ‘unfair and disrespectful’ to a former Irish Army captain who was made redundant and replaced by a UK manager.

Seán Dillon claimed unfair dismissal against the RNLI, after the charity decided a head office policy and fundraising officer was a better fit for the “frontline operational role” as regional head for Ireland.

The commission upheld Dillon’s claim and ordered the RNLI to pay him €30,000 in compensation in addition to his redundancy lump sum.

At a hearing held in March 2023, Dillon said the lifesaving charity’s failure to attend to answer his statutory complaint was symbolic “of the ignorance or contempt” towards Ireland as a region in the RNLI. Dillon also said that the RNLI was a “governance basket case”. He claims Irish donors would donate money intending funds to go to Irish lifeboat stations, but they would instead be sent to the UK and “go into an account forever”.

He said: “There hasn’t been a new lifeboat delivered to Ireland in I don’t know how many years.”

The Irish Times reports Dillon claiming he had to stop fundraising material going out to Irish households marked with an image of Queen Elizabeth II and the pound sterling symbol and that there was ‘particular resistance to devolving fundraising.’

The newspaper reports that Dillon was denied an interview for a head of region role created to replace his previous position, and then put on notice for risk of redundancy. Dillon holds that there were no significant differences from his job description in the new role.

A senior manager at RNLI headquarters who was also facing redundancy got the job.

This is reported to have occurred after “pushback” from staff at RNLI headquarters in Poole, Dorset, in the face of a decentralisation plan put to managers, which would give more power to regional managers.

Adjudicating officer Eileen Campbell writes in her decision that the RNLI “did not adequately give serious consideration to suitable alternative roles” for Dillon and there was “no meaningful engagement” with him on them.

The hearing took place with only Dillon and a member of the press in attendance after RNLI failed to send a representative.

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One response to “‘Disrespectful’ RNLI must pay ex-Army captain €30,000 over unfair redundancy”

  1. Rosemary Flowers says:

    It’s time Ireland took control of it’s own facilities and funding. We should separate from the UK as our service is being sidelined. Money raised in Ireland should be spent in Ireland.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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