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Doctor who sued prison service for wage claims now owes €15k after losing case

Dr. Moola had more than 150 statutory wage claims against the Irish Prison Service rejected by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)

Cloverhill Prison, Dublin

Patrick O'Connell

A doctor who unsuccessfully sought back-pay of €23,000 from the Irish Prison Service (IPS) is now set to be pursued for €15,000 in tax-payer’s money he was found to have been overpaid.

Sources have confirmed to the Sunday World that it is normal procedure for the IPS to seek to recoup any monies over-paid to staff or contracted personnel.

And the source said ‘no exception will be made’ in the case of Dr. Mohsin Moola.

Last Wednesday, Dr. Moola had more than 150 statutory wage claims against the Irish Prison Service rejected by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Dr Moola had claimed the governor of Cloverhill Prison was “desperate” to find a new doctor and offered him double the usual on-call rate when he was hired in January 2007 – before “unilaterally” reducing it.

He alleged 154 breaches of the Payment of Wages Act in nine separate complaint forms submitted to the commission between 2016 and 2020.

Dr Moola had started work at the prison in 2006 as a locum GP before returning to South Africa when a new doctor was hired, he said in evidence to an adjudication hearing on November 4 last year.

He said he got a phone call from then-governor of Cloverhill Prison, Liam Dowling, after Christmas 2006 offering him a permanent job.

Dr Moola said he was aware of “longstanding issues between prison doctors and the Irish Prison Service”, specifically pay and allowances, and he told he Mr Dowling he wasn’t interested in the job.

He said the governor came back to him and they negotiated a deal in which he would be offered backdated pay if the salary for prison doctors was increased in the future.

Dr Moola said Mr Dowling also agreed to an increase in the on-call rate.

“We negotiated double,” he said.

Former Cloverhill governor, Liam Dowling, said in evidence that he was not in a position to offer Dr Moola “any concessions or inducements” to return to work at the prison.

He said most of their discussions over five or six phone calls concerned a work permit, which he arranged, and that the question of the on-call allowance “never arose”.

Adjudicating officer Catherine Byrne in her ruling found “no evidence whatsoever” for the claimed deal and further that Dr. Moola was was paid an on-call allowance of €199.39 a week for three years from January 2007 to January 2010, when he ought to have been receiving just €99.69.

Ms Byrne found the doctor had been overpaid by €15,000.

“I am satisfied therefore that there has been no illegal deduction from the complainant’s wages and that since January 1st 2010 he [has been] paid the correct weekly allowance,” she added.

A source confirmed this week that efforts will now be made by the IPS to recoup the money.

“There is a period during which an appeal can be lodged in relation to a Work Relations Commission finding,” a source told the Sunday World.

“But after that period ends, it would be normally operating procedure for efforts to be made to recoup any money found to have been overpaid.”

A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service declined to comment on the issue this week saying: “The Irish Prison Service does not comment on matters pertaining to individual staff members.”

Efforts to contact Dr. Moola at his home in Lucan and business address in Portlaoise this week were unsuccessful.

A doctor working at the Portlaoise address said Dr. Moola is currently in South Africa.

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