herald

Saturday 25 November 2017

Trucker fights sack for Gerry Ryan call

A LORRY driver sacked after pulling into the hard shoulder of a motorway to take a call from the Gerry Ryan Show is appealing the decision.

Noel Cawley (39), admits he was in "happy land" and not thinking straight after he won €2,000 and a trip to London on the RTE 2fm radio show -- and subsequently took the wrong motorway exit and performed an illegal U-turn.

The father of two is taking an unfair dismissal case against his ex-employers, Target Express, who blame him for being late with cargo.



With the benefit of hindsight, Mr Cawley yesterday said he was sorry for answering the phone call from the radio show on November 19, 2009.

However, he said Gerry Ryan was hilarious and talking on his show was something he would never forget.

Dubliner Mr Cawley, who moved his family to Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, for a better life, was driving a 60ft articulated truck for the courier company during bad weather on the day he received the call.

He had entered a competition to tell a funny story on the radio the previous day. When a Dublin number popped up on Mr Cawley's phone, he said he answered because he thought it was his head office.

When he was told the line was bad, he pulled over on the M7, which an Employment Appeals Tribunal hearing heard was illegal and unsafe.

He subsequently won a prize on the show presented by the late broadcaster Gerry Ryan, and said he was delighted.

However, an investigation was carried out at the company after Mr Cawley arrived 24 minutes late with the cargo.

Target Express claimed Mr Cawley was guilty of gross misconduct and his actions put the public, the firm's clients and the company in danger. He was dismissed on January 19, 2010.

The hearing continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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