Northern Ireland

Kennedy adviser sacked over newspaper claims

The special adviser to the minister for employment and learning has been sacked following allegations in a newspaper about his private life.

Dr Brian Crowe has strenously denied the claims which involve allegations of sexual impropriety, and that he abused his position as a ministerial adviser.

However minister Danny Kennedy said they made his position "untenable".

"I have decided to terminate his employment with immediate effect," he said.

Dr Crowe is a former full-time Church of Ireland minister who has continued to preach in a parish in Lisburn in a non-stipendiary role.

In a statement, the Church of Ireland said: "These are matters which the church takes very seriously.

"While the investigations are carried out and the outcome of this process is awaited Dr Crowe's permission to officiate has been withdrawn and he will not undertake parish duties."

Dr Crowe was also at a time an adviser to former Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey and was a former head of policy for the party.

However, the UUP has said he is not currently a member of the party.

Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliot said the matter was being dealt with by the Department of Employment and Learning and was not an issue for his party.