Monday 22 May 2017

Former GAA presenter loses long battle against BBC over sacking

Adrian Rutherford

The former face of BBC Northern Ireland’s GAA coverage has lost a fair employment case taken against the corporation.

Allegations of unfair dismissal and religious discrimination made by Jerome Quinn, who fronted the BBC’s GAA coverage for 17 years, are understood to have been rejected.

Mr Quinn alleged he was the victim of “Protestant and British prejudice” during the case, which was heard in May.

The presenter, from Omagh in Co Tyrone, fronted the BBC’s coverage of The Championship for 17 years until 2008.

Mr Quinn was sacked last year after being caught posting anonymous criticism of the corporation’s Gaelic football and hurling coverage on internet forums.

He alleged unfair dismissal and discrimination at a tribunal but last night it emerged his claim has been dismissed.

It is understood a letter outlining the tribunal’s findings was sent to Mr Quinn and the BBC yesterday.

The letter states that all the allegations Mr Quinn made against the BBC have been dismissed “in their entirety”.

Mr Quinn was unavailable for comment last night.

During the tribunal in May, Mr Quinn had launched a scathing attack on the BBC, saying it promoted “Protestant-supported sports” over Gaelic games.

He claimed the BBC subjected him to “racial and religious harassment” which left him “demoted, devalued and demoralised”.

Mr Quinn said he had received “less favourable treatment than if I was a Protestant, British and not associated with the GAA”.

He claimed attempts to skew sports coverage included “moves to influence voting” for the 2008 Sports Personality of the Year “so that it would not be won by a GAA player, working to manipulate the judging panel”.

Mr Quinn told the tribunal that in his role as organiser of the judging panel for the awards, he had a meeting with sports presenter Jackie Fullerton in which Mr Fullerton “made it very clear that GAA should not have a chance of winning against someone who had won a medal at the Olympics or a Ryder Cup tournament”.

However, the tribunal had also been told that Mr Quinn spent more than two years anonymously criticising his employer on internet forums using his work computer.

Head of radio news Kathleen Carragher said the decision to dismiss Mr Quinn, a Catholic, was “not taken lightly” but that the blogs by Mr Quinn amounted to gross misconduct.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

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