Northern Ireland news

Embattled Mid and East Antrim council chief Anne Donaghy on 'sick leave'

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council chief executive Anne Donaghy

THE COUNCIL chief who controversially oversaw the removal of staff from Larne Port earlier this year has taken sick leave.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council chief executive Anne Donaghy's absence yesterday prompted councillors to call an emergency meeting.

The local authority was last night making no comment.

Ms Donaghy's sick leave, first reported in Belfast Live, comes after months of controversy over the unionist-dominated council's role in removing workers involved in administering the Irish Sea border at Larne Port.

The decision to withdraw council staff in Larne came after allegations of intimidation and threatening graffiti in the Co Antrim town, one of four ports in the north handling goods arriving from Britain.

A subsequent report by Stormont's agriculture committee criticised the "quality and credibility" of some of the council's evidence.

It said its case included "several contradictions and inconsistencies".

There were also been calls for Ms Donaghy to resign over a letter she sent to the British government raising her concerns about the Northern Ireland Protocol after being advised by three DUP MPs.

Earlier this month, the council narrowly voted to refer itself to a public services watchdog over claims it had "misled" the MLA's inquiry, while last week trade union Nipsa said it was surveying the council's workers about allegations of "bullying and harassment".

Ms Donaghy was awarded an OBE in 2020 for services to local government.

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