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Navy 'right' to dismiss coeliac

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  • Navy 'right' to dismiss coeliac

    From:The Irish Independent
    Thursday, 20th November, 2003

    A DECISION to discharge a young woman from the Naval Service because she is a coeliac was upheld by the Supreme Court yesterday when it reversed a High Court decision in her favour.

    Maria Fitzgerald (22) of Loretto Park, Friar's Walk, Cork enlisted in July, 1999 having undergone a medical assessment. She had 158 days training and attained the highest gradings in relation to military fitness, vision and hearing.

    Soon after enlisting, she was suffering from a persistent respiratory tract infection and admitted to hospital. The coeliac diagnosis was confirmed in October, 1999.

    Instruction No 4 of the Director, Medical Corps (DMC) stated that personnel requiring gluten free diets should not be graded higher that "Constitution 3". In order to pass out, a recruit would have to have a grade of at least 2.

    The board classified Ms Fitzgerald accordingly and recommended that she "not be finally approved".

    She was discharged from the Naval Service but otherwise qualified for approval as she had successfully completed all other elements of her training.

    In the Supreme Court yesterday, Mr Justice Fennelly said the decision to discharge Ms Fitzgerald was "not irrational".
    "The dolphins were monkeys that didn't like the land, walked back to the water, went back from the sand."

  • #2
    Tough situation,but rules are rules. Same as the Civilian qualifications,for the dept of marine,you must take your initial eyesight without visual aids such as Spectacles or contact lenses,but subsequent tests can be taken with such items. The dietary regieme of Coeliacs would be impractical aboard ship,one wonders would it have made more sense to transfer her to another branch of the DF?
    Fail to prepare....prepare to FAIL!


    • #3
      my mother is a coeliac sufferer and has to watch everything she eats and drinks in case she suffers any reaction . it would be both impractical and potentially dangerous to allow a sufferer be in a confined area where food stuffs would be limited

      wasnt there a similar incident in the army some years ago ???
      Anyone need a spleen ?


      • #4
        I think this is the same incident but has only just come to court.


        • #5
          It was in Ireland on sunday,in typical tabloid fashion,her being told to "tear the stripes off her uniform" by an officer.
          The incident happened about 3 or 4 years ago. Her face was being used on recruitment posters at the time,apparently.

          Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


          • #6
            How come she had not been diagnosed as coeliac earlier......?

            My comissirations to the young lady at the end of her naval carreer but it must be accepted that certain conditions will exclude people from military service...its just a pity that this was not entered as a proscibed illness on the attestation form and it could have saved endless problems.
            Covid 19 is not over's still very real..Hand Hygiene, Social Distancing and Masks.. keep safe