This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 6 °C Friday 10 April, 2020
Advertisement

Sinn Féin minister found guilty of religious discrimination

Conor Murphy has been found guilty of discriminating against a Protestant applicant by Belfast’s Fair Employment Tribunal.

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy
Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A SINN FÉIN minister and his department have been found guilty of discriminating against an applicant on the basis of religion.

The Fair Employment Tribunal has said that Alan Lennon was overlooked for appointment of chairman at Northern Ireland Water by Newry/Armagh MP Conor Murphy because he was Protestant.

Lennon was interviewed for the position by a selection panel and approved as a suitable candidate, along with four other applicants – three Protestants and one Catholic, UTV reports.

In March 2011, Murphy appointed the sole Catholic applicant, Sean Hogan, as chairman.

In its ruling, the tribunal said there was “considerable doubt” as to whether Hogan had indeed been the most suitable candidate – and that it was satisfied that Hogan was selected because “he was not from a Protestant background and because he was known to the minister and his ministerial colleagues”, reports the Guardian.

The tribunal noted that during the time Murphy was Department for Regional Development minister (2007 – 2011) there had been “material bias” against the appointment of candidates from a Protestant background.

However, Murphy released a statement last night, saying:

I absolutely refute any allegation of discrimination against Alan Lennon on religious grounds.

I stand over all of the appointments I made as the regional development minister and adhered to all the set criteria for such appointments.

The department have six weeks to decide whether to appeal this ruling. Having read the ruling myself I would be urging the department to utilise the appeals process.

While the tribunal found that Lennon had suffered unlawful religious discrimination by the Department of Regional Development, it rejected a further claim of unlawful political discrimination on the basis of his political opinions – saying that there was not enough evidence to support that assertion.

Lennon welcomed the ruling, saying: “I brought this case to shine a light on what I feel is a selection system that is not fit for purpose… I am very pleased that it appears that this case will put in train changes and improvements to the processes around public appointments.”

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Read next:

COMMENTS (90)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel