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27 February 2003 Edition

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Council pays damages to Catholic

Fermanagh District Council has agreed to pay £12,500 to a Catholic man after he took a case against the council under the Fair Employment and Treatment Order.

After the ruling, the council expressed its regret for the distress caused to Danny McSorley, an applicant for the post of council chief executive in 2000, by the manner in which it filled the position of chief executive. It reaffirmed its commitment to equality of opportunity.

The Equality Commission supported McSorley in taking the case, but prior to a scheduled hearing, the council agreed to pay £12,500 and review its procedures for such appointments.

Equality Commission Chief Commissioner Joan Harbinson said such cases highlighted the need for councils to ensure their procedures did not give the impression that appointments were being made as a result of party political decisions.

Harbinson said councils should follow recruitment practices that make it clear that applicants will receive fair and equal treatment. "Voting which is seen to follow party lines must raise concerns about unlawful discrimination".

McSorley was previously awarded up to £20,000 for religious and political discrimination after being turned down for the post of chief technical officer of Strabane District Council in 1987.
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An Phoblacht
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