Aberystwyth University: Lecturer sues over lost post

August 14, 2008

A lecturer is suing the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) of Northern Ireland over its handling of the appointment of a Commissioner for Victims and Survivors. Marie Breen Smyth, a reader in international politics at Aberystwyth University, is suing the OFMDFM after its failure to appoint her as commissioner. Dr Breen Smyth was initially shortlisted for the job, which was advertised as a single post. But Ian Paisley, who was First Minister at the time, and Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister, reopened applications and announced that four commissioners rather than one would be appointed. They eventually offered Dr Breen Smyth a job as one of the four. Her lawyers, Worthington Commercial, said: "She raised a series of concerns about this offer." She argued that having four posts was "organisationally inadvisable" and an unwarranted use of public money. The OFMDFM gave the job to someone else and announced the four appointments in January 2008. The proceedings state that the recruitment process was a "sham, made without the necessary legislation in place for the position", her lawyers said. The OFMDFM has denied the claims, which are due to be heard on September 18.

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