An industrial tribunal hearing to examine Fr Pat Buckley’s claim of unfair dismissal started in February 1986.
The hearing against the Larne priest’s former boss, Bishop Cahal Daly, took place in Bedford House in Belfast. Bishop Daly was contesting Fr Buckley’s application and claimed that a priest was not an “employee” of a bishop. The hearing had to decide if Fr Buckley was an employee covered by the legislation under which the tribunal operated. Fr Buckley believed the case would set a precedent in the UK, as a priest had never brought an application against his bishop. Fr Buckley said the Labour Relations Agency had tried to achieve a conciliation between himself and Bishop Daly. He said he was open to this, but Bishop Daly had not responded to the offer.