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Northern Irish Arts Council chief executive sues for age discrimination

ACNI chief executive Roisin McDonough Arts Council of Northern Ireland chief executive Roisin McDonough
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The chief executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has begun legal proceedings against the body’s chairman and its parent organisation, the Department for Communities, for alleged age discrimination.

Roisin McDonough is reported to have launched a claim against John Edmund in January although details of the complaint have not been revealed.

A former chief executive of the West Belfast Partnership and director of the region’s Training Network for Women, McDonough joined the Arts Council in 2000. Over the past decade, she has overseen successive annual cuts in arts funding with spending falling by £23 million since 2012.

Appointed as chair in 2016, Edmund has spent much of his tenure embroiled in controversy for suggesting that Arts Council clients were too reliant on public funding. In late 2017, he survived two votes of no confidence from fellow board members and has resisted calls for his resignation.

Neither party has commented on McDonough’s allegation and no date has yet been announced for a hearing.

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