McCartney rejects ex-worker's discrimination claim


The UK Unionist leader today rejected as "ludicrous" claims by his former secretary that she was sacked due to political discrimination.

Appearing before a Fair Employment Tribunal, North Down MLA Mr Robert McCartney insisted Mrs Freda Woods, who worked in the UK Unionists' Assembly office, had been dismissed because she had little work left to do after four of its members left to form the Northern Ireland Unionist Party.

Mrs Woods, from Cranley Road, Bangor, who worked in the office for 20 months, claims her sacking in March 2000 constituted unfair dismissal and political discrimination and was prompted by a letter from her husband to a local newspaper.

She is claiming the UK Unionist leader blamed her for the content of this letter. Mrs Woods was told her contract was being terminated on March 30th by two other members of the party, chairman Mr Nelson Wharton and Mr Alan Madill.

Mr McCartney, one of northern Ireland's leading QCs, is representing himself at the tribunal. In his written submission he described Mrs Woods' allegation of political discrimination as "ludicrous".