Alan Lennon case: Protestant job applicant to receive £150,000

Alan Lennon Alan Lennon is to receive £150,000 after a tribunal ruled he was overlooked for a job because of his religion

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The man discriminated against by the former Sinn Fein minister Conor Murphy for a top job at Northern Ireland Water is to receive £150,000 in damages.

Alan Lennon won a tribunal case against Stormont's Department for Regional Development (DRD) in June.

It ruled he had been overlooked for the post because he was a Protestant.

Mr Lennon has now agreed a compensation settlement which is equivalent to three years salary for the chair of NIW, the job he had applied for.

He said: "I took the case primarily to challenge what I believe to be serious flaws in the public appointments system and the level of compensation agreed marks the seriousness of what occurred.

"I hope that this will result in a more transparent and equitable public appointments process."

Deciding Mr Lennon was discriminated against, the tribunal believed Mr Murphy - DRD minister at the time and now MP for Newry and Armagh - also broke the code of practice for appointments.

In March 2011, Mr Murphy appointed a Catholic as chairman, Sean Hogan, ahead of four others shortlisted after interview, all of them Protestants.

According to the tribunal, Mr Hogan was selected because "he was not from a Protestant background and because he was known to the minister and his (then Sinn Fein) ministerial colleagues", Michelle Gildernew and Caitriona Ruane, who were consulted about the appointment.

Mr Murphy strongly disputes the tribunal's findings which he claimed branded him as "sectarian".

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