Northern Ireland news

Special Olympics Gold Medallist awarded £2,000 compensation following funding refusal

Student Adam Smyth who won a gold medal for badminton at the Special Olympics Ireland National Games has been paid £2,000 compensation after he was refused funding for the final year of a catering skills programme. Photo by Arthur Allison
Marie Louise McConville

A student who won a gold medal for badminton at the Special Olympics Ireland National Games has been paid compensation after he was refused funding for the final year of a catering course.

Adam Smyth, from Lisburn, who has a learning disability, received £2,000 compensation in a settlement made by the Department for the Economy and the South Eastern Regional College, without admission of liability.

Assisted by the Equality Commission, Mr Smyth issued proceedings in the County Court alleging breaches of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability (NI) Order 2005.

In 2015, he completed Level One of a catering course within South Eastern Regional College's Skills for Work programme, which is part of a Department for the Economy's `Training for Success' scheme.

Due to his disability, Mr Smyth took longer than expected to complete Level One and for Level Two would also have needed two years - exceeding department guidelines for funding.

When his circumstances were explained to the Department by the college, the reply was: "Unfortunately, an exception cannot be made; there are no extensions given".

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