05 August 2005

NIO slammed over job ad ban

Daily Ireland

by Ciarán Barnes

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has been accused of operating a policy of discrimination after it refused to advertise for new members for the Parades Commission in Daily Ireland.
Adverts for the posts appeared in the Irish News, Newsletter, Belfast Telegraph and the London edition of the Times.
When asked to explain why it was refusing to advertise in Daily Ireland, the Parades Commission said it had also refused to advertise in the British tabloid, The Sun.
However, this claim has cut no ice with republicans who believe the organisation’s governing body, the NIO, is operating unfairly.
Sinn Féin Assemblyman Michael Ferguson has complained to the NIO about the department’s treatment of the newspaper.
He said: “The NIO is hiding behind a review of its ongoing services, but to use this excuse and then advertise Parades Commission members posts in the London Times is a bit much.
“The NIO is denying Daily Ireland the same opportunities it affords other newspapers and that smacks of inequality.
“The department acknowledges there are anomalies in its advertising and procedures, yet it is not prepared to address these ahead of the review being completed even though it knows it is discriminating.”
Mr Ferguson added: “Not advertising Parades Commission posts in Daily Ireland compounds this inequality and pushes the situation into the realms of ridiculousness.”
SDLP Assembly member and party spokesperson on equality, Patricia Lewsley, said it was important for the NIO to be seen to be operating in a fair and equitable manner.
She said: “The NIO must operate in a fair and equal way, it is imperative for it to act like this.
“Job adverts and appointments should be published in newspapers that represent both sides of the community.”
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office said: “On occasions the government will advertise in other newspapers outside Northern Ireland if the post requires it.”
Daily Ireland’s problems with Parades Commission adverts is not the first time the newspaper has faced official opposition to important notices being placed in its pages.
The British government was recently forced into an embarrassing climb down over its refusal to advertise in the newspaper.
The publication of Daily Ireland’s audited sales figures of 10,467 copies per day eventually forced the British government to give the newspaper some advertising.
However, it still refuses to place advertisements for jobs in Daily Ireland.

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