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Five CAB officers say State won't pay them allowance other officers receive for 'dangerous duties', court told

Five Criminal Asset Bureau (CAB) officers say the State refused to pay them the same allowance as other non-garda officers for carrying out certain dangerous duties.

The five, who work as forensic accountants and financial crime analysts, claim that allowances of €19,000 per year over their salary are paid to CAB officers who have been seconded from Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, and Customs and Excise.

The allowance, they claim, is to mark the nature of the work conducted by the CAB.

The five cannot be identified for legal reasons and have been at the bureau for a long number of years.

They say that they routinely carry out their CAB duties, often during anti-social hours,  including attending search operations, preparing court documents, attending interviews with dangerous criminals, and giving evidence at court cases on behalf of CAB.

They claim these duties are no different from the duties carried out by other civil servants who are getting the allowance.

In 2008 they made a claim to their Minister for Justice in respect of the allowance.

However, the Minister informed them that the Department of Finance was not persuaded their work exposed them to field work and the risk that accompanies it to the extent that it could be compared to other bureau staff.

An allowance of €9,500 per year to the five was sanctioned in 2008. 

In proceedings against the Minister, the five claim they have been discriminated against in respect of the allowance.

They seek orders directing the Minister to pay them the allowance paid to the other non-Garda CAB officers plus arrears.

The Minister says they are not entitled to the payment of the allowance.

The State rejects claims that the five have been discriminated against, and say they have been paid in accordance with the terms and conditions of their appointment.

In 2011, the five had received an increased allowance of €9,500 per year, which they never formally accepted.  The defendant says this is the rate payable to the those from the Chief State Solicitor’s office working for CAB.

Opening the case, Benedict Ó Floinn SC, instructed by solicitor Peter Dempsey for the five, said it was with “enormous sadness” that his clients had brought the action. 

However, it is his client’s case that they were entitled to the same allowance as colleagues they worked “shoulder to shoulder” with.

Counsel said that the men’s application for the allowance in 2008 was supported by the then Bureau Chief and now retired Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony.

The action, before Mr Justice Senan Allen, continues.

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