Northern Ireland

Dermot McLaughlin ex-City of Culture boss suspended

Dermot McLaughlin
Image caption Dermot McLaughlin was seconded from that position to his new job in Derry in October 2012

The man who resigned as Derry City Council's City of Culture project director, has been suspended from his post in Dublin.

Dermot McLaughlin was seconded to Londonderry from the Temple Bar Cultural Trust in October 2012.

He resigned in March and returned to the Dublin trust after five months.

Dublin City Council confirmed Mr McLaughlin has been suspended with pay and without prejudice pending an investigation.

At the time of his appointment as City of Culture project director, Derry City Council said Mr McLaughlin would "ensure that all priority support services are in place to support the programme and legacy".

Culture Company chief executive Shona McCarthy said his "commercial and cultural background and project management skills" would be "a valued addition" to their work.

On 29 March, five months after his appointment, Mr McLaughlin resigned for reasons as yet unexplained to the public.

The Strategic Investment Board, a branch of the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, said he was leaving for "personal reasons".

The board and Derry City Council thanked Mr McLaughlin for his "substantial contribution to the project" and wished him "every success for the future".

The Strategic Investment Board added that it had managed his recruitment.

'Big job done'

At the time of his resignation, he had signalled his intention to return to the Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) at the start of May.

The board of that organisation then met to discuss Mr McLaughlin's return.

Following his City of Culture resignation announcement, Mr McLaughlin tweeted: "I've made my contribution. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to help. Big job done here, big one to do at TBCT".

In mid-April, two board members resigned from TBCT. One of them, Dublin councillor Mannix Flynn, called for the trust to be wound up.

The TBCT board met soon after and agreed that the organisation should be wound up.

The decision to suspend Mr McLaughlin was taken at a board meeting on Monday, according to Dublin City Council.

A council spokesperson said the decision was taken for Mr McLaughlin to be "suspended with pay and without prejudice pending an investigation by the board".

The council said it had no more information at present.

Mr McLaughlin has not commented publicly on the matter.

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