Northern Ireland news

Councillors to make complaint over Anne Donaghy's apology snub

Anne Donaghy, chief executive for Mid and East Antrim council
Brendan Hughes

TWO councillors are to make a complaint against a council chief executive over her refusal to say sorry despite a report recommending she apologise for risking "reputational damage" to an Irish language group.

The SDLP's Declan O'Loan said Mid and East Antrim council chief executive Anne Donaghy had "failed to carry out what was required" by the independent complaints probe.

Conradh na Gaeilge (CnaG) had made a formal complaint following inaccurate comments Ms Donaghy made at a council meeting earlier this year.

It strongly rejected claims by Ms Donaghy that she had contacted CnaG and arranged a meeting but it had failed to turn up.

It recommended that Ms Donaghy "read out a statement at a public council meeting" to acknowledge her comments "may have inadvertently misled council and that she apologises to council and to Conradh na Gaeilge for any reputational damage her comments may have caused".

However, Ms Donaghy has not issued a public apology and has told CnaG she does not intend to do so.

She sent CnaG the report and a letter in which she acknowledged she may have inadvertently misled councillors and caused unintended reputational damage.

Mr O'Loan told Ms Donaghy yesterday he was "making formal complaint under the council's complaints policy that you have failed to carry out what was required under those findings".

Sinn Féin's Patrice Hardy also submitted a formal complaint.

Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin, CnaG advocacy manager, welcomed the complaints report findings.

He said CnaG "sought, reasonably, that the record would be set by the chief executive in that same public forum" as the comments were made and "we can find no reason why the chief executive is refusing to do this".

Mid and East Antrim council said the matter has been "dealt with in line with council policy".

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