Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Sacked BBC presenter Jerome Quinn blasts coverage of GAA sports

Jerome Quinn

The former face of the BBC's GAA coverage has attacked the corporation — claiming it promoted “Protestant-supported sports” over Gaelic games.



Jerome Quinn claims the BBC subjected him to “racial and religious harassment” which left him “demoted, devalued and demoralised”.

The extraordinary attack came during the opening day of a fair employment tribunal case against BBC Northern Ireland.

Mr Quinn fronted the BBC’s GAA coverage of The Championship for 17 years until 2008. He was later removed from presenting Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sportsound programme.

He was sacked last year after being caught posting anonymous criticism of its Gaelic football and hurling coverage on internet forums.

The Co Tyrone personality alleges unfair dismissal and discrimination by the BBC.

He is representing himself in the case, which is expected to last the remainder of the week.

Opening his case yesterday, Mr Quinn read a 14-page statement which alleged: Religious and racial harassment because he was Irish; Promotion of “Protestant-supported sports” over GAA and attempts to manipulate voting to stop a GAA player winning the 2008 Sports Personality of the Year award.

Mr Quinn said his sacking in 2009 cost him his career as a presenter and caused “serious reputational damage”.

He said that relations with the BBC began to deteriorate about four years ago. Claiming he was the subject of “conscious discrimination” because of his Catholic and Irish background, he said: “The GAA is still discriminated against in BBC NI”.

Mr Quinn said he had received “less favourable treatment than if I was a Protestant, British and not associated with the GAA”.

He accused BBC bosses of reducing prime-time coverage of Gaelic games and having a “negative approach to GAA reportage”.

He told the panel there was a “massive imbalance” in coverage, despite GAA being the top spectator sport in Northern Ireland.

Mr Quinn admitted criticising the BBC on internet discussion boards, adding it was “ a poor error of judgment for which I apologise”. He said it was an attempt to inform fans “of what was behind anti-GAA coverage in BBC NI”.

The case continues.