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MEA Chief Executive launches legal proceedings against her employer

Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Anne Donaghy said she has been “left with little option” as solicitors acting on her behalf today announced that legal proceedings had commenced against the local authority.

KRW Law confirmed on Monday that an application was lodged on Friday (7 January) with The Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunal claiming victimisation against her employer, on the grounds of sex, disability and religious and/or political opinion.

It is the latest stage in a saga that has been going on for months amid controversy around official council staffing at Larne Port, accusations from local authority staff of bullying and harassment, and the eventual suspension of Ms Donaghy at the beginning of December after police officers conducted a raid at the council headquarters building in Ballymena.

The Chief Executive has been absent from her post in what is understood to be stress-related sick leave since September, and has strongly rejected allegations made against her.

Speaking after the lodgement of the Claim today, Anne Donaghy said:

“I’ve been left really with little option but to proceed with this Tribunal Application. After the Council suspended me last year my solicitors announced in early December that I would be taking a legal challenge.

“I now do so without any hesitation. I have to say I am really looking forward to the chance to contest all the flawed decision making directed against me by the Council and other named individuals. This case cannot come quickly enough for me.”

We approached Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for comment, however a spokesperson for the local authority said:

Council does not comment on staffing matters.”

Solicitor Kevin Winters of KRW LAW added:

“This application has been filed with the Tribunal against a backdrop of a toxic campaign of vilification based on systemic leaks by the Council to sections of the media. I must stress this Claim is part of wider legal agitation by The Applicant which will also include plans for separate High court litigation against the Council.

“In the meantime, given the huge sensitivities engaged here we ask for everyone to respect the need for total confidentiality on the specifics of the claim now lodged. There have been enough attempts already to undermine due process without compounding the problem.”

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