Northern Ireland news

Union says college treated dismissed member `appallingly'

Patricia Flanagan said she was "effectively sacked twice". Picture from BBC

A LECTURERS' union has said one of its members was treated appallingly after being unfairly dismissed.

Patricia Flanagan, who worked at Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC) for nine years, has been awarded £55,000.

An industrial tribunal ruled in her favour in April this year.

Ms Flanagan had originally been suspended by college chief executive Marie-Therese McGivern while allegations, including fraud, were investigated in June 2013.

She was dismissed in March 2014.

Ms McGivern is a member of the independent panel investigating troubled De La Salle College.

The University and College Union (UCU), which welcomed the award to Ms Flanagan, opposed Ms McGivern's appointment to this panel.

The respondent in the case was Belfast Metropolitan College.

An appeal hearing at the Labour Relations Agency in August 2014 found Ms Flanagan had been unfairly dismissed from her senior role as creativity and innovation lead and ordered the college to reinstate her "with immediate effect".

This did not happen, however.

Ms Flanagan said she felt let down by senior management, adding that the money awarded "would in no way compensate for three years of my life spent trying to clear my name".

The UCU last night said the college unfairly dismissed Ms Flanagan twice, "failing to re-instate her following a legally binding decision of an LRA appeal panel".

"This is unprecedented and serious questions need to be asked about how this was allowed to happen," a spokesman said.

"No-one has apologised to Ms Flanagan for the ordeal she has been put through, no lessons have been learned, and nobody has been held accountable."

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