Belfast Telegraph

Father and son's legal bid over Masonic suspension

By ALAN ERWIN

Masonic rules were not properly followed after a father and son were suspended, the High Court has heard.

A judge was told of alleged procedural breaches in the action taken against Stewart and Brian Hood following a disputed proposal to sell the body's Belfast city centre headquarters.

The Hoods were suspended on a charge of "unmasonic conduct".

They are seeking to have the sanction declared void which could then see them reinstated at their lodge in Templepatrick, Co Antrim.

Disciplinary action to suspend the Hoods was first taken in 2009.

But they argue that rather than going to the Dublin-based Grand Lodge of Masons in Ireland, the matter should have been dealt with at provincial level in Antrim.

Brian Hood, who brought the case along with his father, claimed in court he was "effectively gagged" after forming part of a retention team which put forward an alternative to selling the Masonic hall in central Belfast.

Mr Hood (48) claimed that a dispute developed between the retention team and others in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, allegedly based on a board of general purpose deciding to endorse the alternative to selling off the Rosemary Street headquarters.

Mr Justice Weatherup was told a probe into alleged conduct is ongoing.

Grand secretary of Masons in Ireland, Barry Lyons, told Patrick Good QC, for the respondents, that a decision to process the charges was taken after consultation in response to "disharmony" in Antrim province.

Judgment in the case was reserved.

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