Belfast Telegraph

Health Minister Edwin Poots accused of anti-union jobs bias

Health Minister Edwin Poots' concerns about restricting the pool of candidates for positions on public bodies were a smokescreen to hide his opposition to appointing trade unionists, the High Court heard.

A judge also heard claims that neither Mr Poots nor his permanent secretary appeared to know what was happening on the issue.

The minister is facing a legal challenge from a former general secretary of NIPSA who failed to obtain a post on the Northern Ireland Social Care Council.

John Corey was turned down after being interviewed for the position specifically advertised as a trade union representative on the regulatory body.

His lawyers claim Mr Poots was irrational and biased in vetoing his appointment after he became Health Minister in May last year.

Counsel for Mr Poots has argued that he did not want to narrow the pool of candidates by ring-fencing positions.

But the explanation was rejected by Mr Corey's barrister.

Reserving judgment, Mr Justice Treacy pledged: “I will give my decision as soon as I can.”

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