DCU dismissal ruled unfair

Taxpayers will face a legal bill of up to €1.2 million after Dublin City University lost their three year battle to dismiss an associate professor. Sources described the DCU President, Professor Von Prondzynski, as ‘embarrassed’ by the decision.
The Supreme Court has affirmed the High Court judgement finding that Dublin City University had not used fair procedures in dismissing Professor Paul Cahill, a former associate professor of biotechnology in DCU. In March 2006, Professor Cahill had a meeting with Professor Ferdinand Von Prondzynski, the president of Dublin City University. The meeting was to inform Von Prondzynski that Cahill had been offered a position as chair of molecular medicine in NUI Galway, an offer which required his research team to join him, and to ascertain whether he would receive an improved offer from DCU.   
Although Von Prondzynski stated he had been given the clear impression Cahill was accepting the NUIG position, Cahill denies he indicated that such a departure was a certainty. Von Prondzynski admits he did not receive a formal resignation. Cahill would not name a date for his departure and the university decided the only option available was to dismiss him.   
Cahill challenged this in the High Court, which found his dismissal to be unlawful. DCU appealed to the Supreme Court but it was found again that the dismissal violated the terms of the Universities Act 1997 and the university’s own statutes, because Cahill had not been given the opportunity to make a submission as to why his contract should not be terminated.