Northern Ireland

Garbhan Downey: City of Culture company 'made up disciplinary procedures'

The sacked communications director of Londonderry's Culture Company has accused officials involved in his dismissal of "making up disciplinary procedures as they went along."

Garbhan Downey is claiming unfair dismissal in an industrial tribunal.

He was sacked for gross misconduct after speaking to the press about a shift of budget from the culture company to Derry City Council.

His claim that the disciplinary hearing was prejudiced was challenged.

Mr Downey told the tribunal that some of the members at the disciplinary hearing were acting on behalf of the chief executive of Derry City Council, who he claimed wanted rid of him.

He said those involved were making up the disciplinary procedures as they went along.

That was denied by the head of human resources at Derry City Council, Sinead McNicholl.

'Reassuring'

However she confirmed that, two days before Mr Downey's appeal hearing against dismissal, she wrote to the two members of that panel saying she was fully expecting the case to go to an industrial tribunal.

Mr Downey's barrister put it to Ms McNicholl that the comments prejudged the outcome by presuming the appeal would not overturn the dismissal.

Mrs McNicholl denied that, saying that was only her opinion and she was simply reassuring the men hearing the appeal.

She said it did not unduly influence the decision to confirm Mr Downey's sacking.

The tribunal hearing continues.

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