Northern Ireland: Catholic doctor wins discrimination case

By: Claire Bergin

A Catholic doctor who was passed over when he applied for a consultant physician's post at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald, East Belfast has been awarded £20,000. Dr Colm McGurk lodged a case with the Fair Employment Tribunal alleging unlawful religious and political discrimination. The hospital trust in the predominantly Protestant area acknowledged and apologised for the injury to feelings, hurt and distress caused. It did not admit liability, but said there were deficiencies in its procedures. The case was assisted by the Equality Commission which said the trust had also re-affirmed its commitment to the principle of equality of opportunity in employment. It had also undertaken to meet the commission to review its policies, practices and procedures with regard to the appointment of consultants, it said. The commission's Geraldine Scullion said the settlement provided an important reminder that any deficiencies in recruitment procedures could cause distress to applicants. "The trust has committed to liaise with the commission and to implement reasonable recommendations," she said. "By bringing this case, Dr McGurk has contributed to a process which will be to the benefit of future applicants and indeed to the trust itself."

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