‘I was trying to put her at ease’ – Civil servant awarded €7k after John Halligan asked was she married during interview

Junior Minister John Halligan. Photo: Tom Burke

JOHN Halligan is the Minister of State who asked a high ranking civil servant if she was married or had children during a job interview.

Mr Halligan’s comments resulted in a Government department being ordered to pay the woman €7,500 in compensation following a Workplace Relations Committee (WRC) ruling.

Mr Halligan, who is currently in Thailand on State business, confirmed to Independent.ie that he is the minister at the centre of the WRC ruling.

The minister said he was “upset” by the ruling as he feels he runs a “family friendly” office.

“I was simply trying to put the interviewee at ease. I wanted to assure her that I am as flexible as possible with members of my team with any external or non-work commitments they may have,” he told Independent.ie

“All of my staff start at 10am because they need to get their kids to school and can finish early if they need to. I’m upset in the sense I genuinely didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. Sometimes I am wrong but I operate a family friendly environment,” he added

The WRC ruling found the executive officer, who has been employed by the civil service since 1993, applied for one of two posts of private secretary in May 2016 to two Junior Government Ministers in the same Government department.

At the interview, Mr Halligan said to the official: “I…

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