Northern Ireland news

Sport NI chief Antoinette McKeown settles employment dispute

Sport NI chief executive Antoinette McKeown

THE chief executive of Sport NI says she has settled a fair employment dispute with the public body.

Antoinette McKeown took the action after being dismissed from her job two years ago before last year being re-instated.

She had been suspended on full pay in 2015 and later dismissed following a disciplinary process, but an independent appeals panel later overturned her dismissal, saying it had found flaws with the disciplinary procedures.

A fair employment tribunal was scheduled to start yesterday, but in a statement a spokesman for Ms McKeown said she had settled the tribunal with Sport NI on Friday.

The statement made no reference to whether the resolution involved a financial settlement.

"From the outset this tribunal was not Ms McKeown's preferred choice, however the board of Sport NI have now accepted the harm and injury caused to Ms McKeown by events including her inappropriate suspension and dismissal," the spokesman told the BBC.

"This whole episode has placed Ms McKeown under huge personal and professional pressure, and whilst she remains CEO of Sport NI since returning to her position in July 2017, this acknowledgement ends an exceptionally difficult period for her."

Sport NI is publicly-funded body with annual budget of around £30m and is aimed at encouraging participation in sport.

Stormont's Department for Communities, which is responsible for Sport NI, said it welcomed a proposed settlement of the dispute.

"Sport NI staff are employed by the board of Sport NI. It would therefore be inappropriate for the department to comment further on this matter," it said.

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