Ulster Unionist Assembly colleagues have fully endorsed the decision taken by the Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy’s that the Department should not appeal against the ruling of the Fair Employment Tribunal which found against the Minister's predecessor Conor Murphy in a case of religious discrimination re Dr Alan Lennon.
Ulster Unionist Deputy Leader and South Down MLA John McCallister said:
“It is common knowledge that appeals against the Fair Employment Tribunal rulings rarely succeed. Tribunals are heard by a competent panel, a panel who hear all the evidence are best placed to access what evidence they accept and which they reject.
The FET annual report for 2010-2011 records that in the last three years only one such challenge to a Tribunal has been successful. What it doesn’t record is the great expense incurred making lawyers better off in mounting such a challenge. In many cases both sides are funded by taxpayers money.
Connor Murphy opened the tap of public money when this case began and I am pleased to say my Party colleague Danny Kennedy has shut it off.”
Assembly Chief Whip and North Antrim MLA Robin Swann said:
“For far too long backroom deals have dictated politics in Northern Ireland and as a result our experience is that many people take decisions which are expedient and cannot be relied upon to do the right thing. Too often decision makers ignore the public interest or the cost to the public purse and instead follow a line that has been agreed in some sort of trade off between the two largest parties and Alliance.
Danny Kennedy hasn’t done that. He hasn’t allowed himself to be pressurised by Sinn Fein and the DUP. He has taken the right decision for the right reasons and is to be congratulated for it. If more Ministers acted like he has done, we would have more productive Government, genuinely making people’s lives better.
I congratulate Danny Kennedy for taking the right decision.”
The Party’s DRD spokesperson and West Tyrone MLA Ross Hussey said:
“Whilst the DUP stood idle, Sinn Fein has sought to bully the Ulster Unionist Party’s Minister into lodging an appeal on behalf of Connor Murphy. Sinn Fein weren’t interested in the waste of taxpayers’ money or how speculative any appeal may be. For them it was never about what was the right thing to do.
“The clear message to Sinn Fein is that the Ulster Unionists will not be bullied or pressurised by them. We will stand up for the people who vote for us and the wider community and we will stand by the principles that unite our members and supporters.”
“Our commitment to make devolved Government work in Northern Ireland is a commitment to Government founded on equality and respect. We are committed to a Government free of discrimination which works in the best interests of all the people of Northern Ireland.”