Belfast Telegraph

Misconduct charges against sacked Sport NI chief Antoinette McKeown 'overturned'

By Allan Preston

Chearges of gross misconduct against the sacked former chief executive of Sport NI have reportedly been dropped.

Antoinette McKeown, also the ex-CEO of the Consumer Council, was appointed as the first female head of the publicly funded sporting body in 2013.

But her tenure came to a dramatic end in March 2015 when she was suspended on full pay.

An independent appeals panel voted to dismiss Ms McKeown last November.

But yesterday, the BBC reported that a separate independent appeals panel had overturned the charges of gross misconduct, citing flaws with the previous disciplinary process.

A representative for Ms McKeown told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday she did not wish to make any comment on the matter at this stage.

In an interview with Sunday Life in November, Ms McKeown spoke out about what she called the "harrowing" experience of her short time in charge of the sporting body.

At the time, she claimed that Sport NI was not fit for purpose, had refused to return her personal diaries containing sensitive information and was mismanaging their annual public funding of £30million.

Among the disputes that marred her time at the organisation were allegations of workplace bullying and serious disagreements over the safety of the Casement Park .

"I'm no longer an employee and I am going to fight for what is right," she said at the time.

Ms McKeown described the ordeal as "20 months of torture made worse by the total absence of a duty of care from Sport NI."

"I played by the rules, but I was working with people who weren't even playing on the same pitch," she insisted.

As of yesterday evening, Sport NI had made no public comment on the matter.

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