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WRC Ruling Credit union must pay Co Cavan man with intellectual disability €7.5k over car draw ban

"If the credit union had told me, 'We made a mistake, this isn't right. We are sorry', that would have done me, but they never did"

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A County Cavan man with an intellectual disability who was banned by his local credit union from entering a €60-a-year car draw "knows they did wrong", his mother has said.

Matthew Reilly's mother Martina said yesterday it was "very hurtful" that her son was excluded from the car draw by the Kingscourt branch of Link Credit Union in Co Cavan "because Matthew is very much part of the community here".

Ms Reilly was speaking after a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ruling which found Link Credit Union had discriminated against Mr Reilly under the Equal Status Act on the grounds of disability when not allowing him to participate in the credit union's car draw.

WRC adjudicator Brian Dalton ordered the credit union to pay €7,500 compensation to Mr Reilly and to allow him to enter future draws.

Mr Reilly (33), who has a chromosomal intellectual disability, was refused permission to take part in the draw in November 2018 when the credit union argued he would not be able to drive the car if he won it.

Ms Reilly said: "There is no name for it [the disability]. Matthew needs day-to-day help. We can communicate with him but others might not know what he is saying. He can be clear enough."

Mr Reilly, who has six sisters, lives at the family farm 3km outside Kingscourt and has been attending a training centre at Cootehill, Co Cavan, since he was 18.

Ms Reilly, who opened an account for Matthew at the credit union in 1993, said: "Matthew knows they did wrong. He thought if he ever won the car, he would buy a big Massey because he lives on a farm.

"Matthew loves farming. That was his dream and they took that away from him in a way - that is the way he was thinking. He wasn't happy about it."

Ms Reilly said she is "delighted and relieved to have the case over because it is not easy taking care of someone and you have to fight along the way - it just makes things harder".

Ms Reilly said she had conversations with the Link Credit Union at Kingscourt after the refusal.

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She said: "If the credit union had told me, 'We made a mistake, this isn't right. We are sorry', that would have done me, but they never did.

"Matthew hasn't a voice so I had to be his voice and our solicitor, Terry Gorry, was very good for us."

Asked about her son's reaction to the WRC decision, Ms Reilly said: "Matthew takes it all in his stride. He doesn't say too much. He just worries about today and that's it."

Ms Reilly hopes her action will inspire others to take similar discrimination cases.

The credit union has the option of appealing the WRC ruling to the Labour Court.

In his findings, Mr Dalton said the refusal of the credit union to do all that was reasonable to accommodate Mr Reilly in participating in the draw constituted discrimination.

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