Man who Gardaí 'considered a risk to national infrastructure' secures temporary halt on job dismissal

By Ann O'Loughlin

A man who was dismissed from his job with the ESB after being informed he is considered a risk to the national infrastructure has secured a temporary High Court order preventing the termination of his employment with the company.

Graham Light said he was shocked and upset after he was fired from his role as Commercial and Risk Advisor with the ESB's corporate team on October 11th last after he was called to a meeting with senior officials at the company.

He said he was informed at the meeting that an external security team had advised the ESB that the Gardaí considered him a "person of interest".

He was also informed he was believed to be a security risk to Ireland's and the UK's national infrastructure.

Mr Light (aged 36) with an address at Castlegate Grove, Adamstown, Co. Dublin says he was taken aback at the accusations.

In a sworn statement to the High Court he said he protested the allegations and told the ESB officials at the meeting he does not have penalty points for speeding nevermind what has been alleged against him.

Mr Light also said the ESB could not tell him what he was being accused of.

He said he was given a typed letter at the meeting which stated he posed a risk to critical national infrastructure in Ireland, Northern Ireland and GB, and that this day (Oct 11, 2017) was the last day of his employment with the ESB.

He said the meeting was also attended by a union official, who said what was happening was highly irregular, unfair and the union had never come across something like this before.

The official with the Energy Services Union asked if Mr Light, who has worked with the firm for almost two years, could be reassigned to another Department within the ESB.

However the response from the company was that this could not be done, Mr Light said.

Mr Light was told the ESB were open to him resigning instead of being fired.

Mr Light said he was asked if he would agree some money to find a new job and was offered a reference that was merely a statement of employment rather than the standard ESB reference, he said.

He was told that he would not be allowed back into the building again and the ESB's security collected and packed most of his belongings into a bag.

As he left the premises Mr Light said that it appeared there were extra security on the floor and in reception.

He claims that his purported dismissal is hugely damaging and caused irreparable harm to his career and reputation.

36-year-old Mr Light, who has qualifications in insurance, said he had an exemplary record and had been promoted during his time with the ESB.

He said he had been encouraged by people in the company to apply for a position in the ESB Corporate Department, which he subsequently secured.

He also says the ESB's actions have left him traumatised and have badly effected his health.

At the High Court today, lawyers for Mr Light secured an injunction preventing the ESB from giving effect to his purported dismissal and from stopping the payment of his salary and benefits.

The interim injunction was granted on an ex-parte basis by Ms Justice Marie Baker.

Describing the case as "unusual", the judge said from the evidence put before the court the decision to terminate Mr Light's employment appeared "draconian".

Mr Light's counsel Ercus Stewart SC, said he had "never come across" a situation like this "in his entire career."

The case will come back before the court next week.

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