Bank employee “strenuously denies” allegations against her at appeals tribunal

An employment appeals tribunal sitting in Donegal town today has been told a bank accused an employee of stealing €1,500 in August 2009 from its smallest branch at Bank of Ireland in Bundoran.

An employment appeals tribunal sitting in Donegal town today has been told a bank accused an employee of stealing €1,500 in August 2009 from its smallest branch at Bank of Ireland in Bundoran.

Aidan Byrne, who was acting regional manager in Sligo at the Bank of Ireland, said Jacqueline Gallagher, 25, had an opportunity to explain her case to him and she didn’t do that to his satisfaction.

He felt the bank had lost the trust of Ms Gallagher and, although he looked at alternative options, he made the decision on his own to sack her.

Ms Gallagher, from Frosses in Co Donegal, “strenuously denies” the allegations against her and is seeking reinstatement to her post at the branch and compensation for loss of earnings.

Francis Gillespie, her solicitor, told the tribunal chair Dr Anne-Marie Courell, that the entire case for dismissing his client had been unproven by the bank and proper procedures for firing her were not followed.

Barrister Seamus Clarke for Bank of Ireland told an earlier hearing that an internal investigation had concluded “on the balance of probabilities” that Miss Gallagher had “misappropriated” monies from the bank.

He said Ms Gallagher had been dismissed from her position because €1,000 in €2 coins and €550 in soiled notes had gone missing from the Bundoran branch of the bank and because she had failed to comply with certain banking procedures.

Mr Clarke said the 25-year-old was what is termed the “No1” cashier at the branch and had gone into work at 4pm on Monday, August 31, 2009 despite fracturing her arm the previous weekend.

During that visit she had offered to help another cashier count cash after the branch closed and had added €1,000 to the day’s accounts by claiming that amount in €2 coins had not been accounted for the previous Friday.

He claimed that in the week before this incident Miss Gallagher had recorded €22,000 in €2 coins when in fact there was only €21,000 in the branch.

She had also recorded decreases in the amount of soiled notes at the bank when there was no decrease unless the notes had been remitted centrally and none had been during the period.

The bank claims that had Ms Gallagher not called into the branch on that Monday, the cash balance would have shown a shortage of €1,000 which would have led to a new count of all monies and the shortage in the soiled notes would have been discovered.

Mr Gillespie has told the tribunal that Ms Gallagher would say in evidence that she had gone into the bank on the Monday after her accident to sign off on student loans and she helped out because her replacement that day was under pressure.

He said all the transactions that day and the previous week had been double signed and verified by other members of staff.

The hearing continues tomorrow, Wednesday.