Northern Ireland

NI Assembly refuses to comment on claim of social media sackings

Image caption The assembly said it "does not comment on personnel and human resource matters"

The Northern Ireland Assembly has refused to comment on a claim that a number of staff have been sacked for using social media.

The TUV leader Jim Allister said he was "deeply concerned."

An Assembly spokesperson said the assembly "does not comment on personnel and human resource matters".

Mr Allister accused the Stormont authorities of "overreacting" and being "totally disproportionate".

He claimed that among the evidence presented against staff were screen shots of retweeted news stories which could be accessed through the Assembly's internal internet system.

Image caption Mr Allister accused the Stormont authorities of "overreacting"

"While, arguably, the letter of the Assembly's policy on use of social media may have been breached, it is obvious that some have been dismissed without so much as a warning, particularly in the absence of any demonstrable harm caused," he said.

"It is easy for the (Assembly) Commission to come down heavily on people who have no public profile and show them the door because they have retweeted something.

"But the same Commission has a record of gross indifference when it came to the flying of a tricolour from the roof of Parliament Buildings. What a contrast with what happened when serious allegations were made against politicians."

Mr Allister has tabled a written question asking the Assembly Commission how many staff have been disciplined in respect of alleged abuse of social media and what the breakdown is in terms of outcome in respect of such actions.

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