Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin welcome ruling on sectarian harassment of Ulster Bus worker

6 April, 2007

Sinn Féin North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay has welcomed the award of £80,000 to Ballymena Catholic bus driver Gerald Duffy by a Fair Employment Tribunal who was forced to endure five years of sectarian abuse and harassment by fellow workers.

Mr McKay said:

"This Tribunal found that Mr Duffy had to endure five years of sectarian abuse, intimidation and threat. The award of nearly £80,000 can in no way compensate for this sectarian campaign of harassment and the impact it has had on Mr Duffy's life.

"There is a responsibility on all employers to ensure that their work environments are safe and free from this type of naked sectarianism. There is also a responsibility to deal with any claim of sectarianism or intimidation quickly and professionally. In this case Ulster Bus has been found to be responsible and there is an onus on them to demonstrate that they can ensure that all of their employees are allowed to work in an environment free from sectarianism and fear.

"There is a serious problem with sectarianism across the north and particularly in North Antrim that must be challenged not just by all political representatives but also by all employers.

In a related matter Mr McKay also voiced concerns about the flying of the Union Jack at MOT centres after receiving numerous complaints about the flying of the Union Jack at the Vehicle Test Centre in Ballymena. Mr McKay said:

"It is unacceptable that the DVTA (Driver & Vehicle Testing Agency) has failed to ensure that Ballymena's MOT Centre is kept as a neutral venue. I have sent a complaint to both the DVTA and the DOE about their failure to keep this centre neutral. People from across North Antrim use the facility and many customers find it offensive that somewhere like an MOT Centre is used to fly a Union Jack, especially when this is not done at other MOT Centres across the north.

"This practice does nothing to improve community relations in this area, and does nothing to promote 'shared space' or a 'shared future'. I will be calling on the Department of Environment to ensure that MOT Centres are kept as neutral locations and are used to test vehicles - not fly flags." ENDS

Connect with Sinn Féin