Sinn Féin MLA is director of group found to have discriminated against job applicant

New Sinn Féin MLA Karen Mullan, second from right, with Raymond McCartney, Cliona O'Kane and Mitchel McLaughlin

A NEWLY appointed Sinn Féin MLA is a director of an organisation that was found to have unlawfully discriminated against a job applicant because of his political opinion.

Community worker Karen Mullan was on Monday selected to replace Elisha McCallion as a Sinn Féin assembly member for Foyle.

Ms Mullan is a director of Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership (WNP), a Derry-based community group.

Earlier this year it was ordered to pay almost £11,000 to a community worker after a fair employment tribunal found he had been turned down for a job because of his political views.

Gary McClean was not offered the post of community development officer despite being the highest-scoring candidate in interviews.

The tribunal heard that McClean described himself as a socialist, and would have been considered locally as an "Eamonn McCann type of person".

He was also critical of what he perceived as a Sinn Féin-DUP "carve-up" of segregated and disadvantaged communities.

Ms Mullan was not on the interview panel, but was among those who agreed that the job would be re-advertised.

Giving evidence to the tribunal, she said an interview panellist had told her they had been bullied into giving a better score.

However, the tribunal said her evidence "lacked credibility" as her claims were not contained in her written evidence and only emerged during cross-examination.

At the time Mr McClean said he hoped his case would show the need for greater transparency and accountability in community-sector appointments.

WNP said it did not believe it had discriminated on political grounds, but has adjusted its recruitment procedures.

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