Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Ulster airport worker sacked over Girls Aloud picture

There was Something Kinda ... awful for a local security man — sacked after posting an airport snap on Facebook of him with Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle, writes By John McGurk

Alex Duffy with Nadine Coyle
Alex Duffy with Nadine Coyle

Devastated ex-City of Derry airport worker Alex Duffy has revealed that his life is on the skids after being pictured with the jet-setting singer in the security area and posting it on the social networking site.

And the 31-year old security expert claimed that he may soon be homeless too as a result of the Coyle controversy.

Now the man from the Strathfoyle area of the city is desperate to talk to Nadine, who was back home for two spectacular Girls Aloud reunion shows at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena last week.

He appealed directly to the 32-year-old sexy star to be true to her band’s chart topping smash hit I’ll Stand By You — and come to his aid. Said Alex: “My argument the whole time about this is that a complaint was not actually made by the person in question, Nadine Coyle. If she was aware of this, I believe that she would be able to back up my version of events and hopefully come to my defence.

“She had been leaving Derry after that big concert (the opening concert of the City of Culture celebrations) last January.

“When the picture of me with her was getting taken, one of the girls said ‘that will be going on Facebook’ and Nadine agreed that it would be. There was no problem.

“I didn’t think that what I did — taking a photograph and putting it on Facebook — would end up in me losing my job.”

But Alex said that after he posted the snap on Facebook a number of offensive comments about the pop star were posted on his page. He claimed that a number of people close to the Girls Aloud star then contacted airport management to complain about the picture and the comments.

After a disciplinary hearing, Alex said that he was dismissed for “gross misconduct and bringing the company into disrepute”.

He admitted to Sunday Life that he had received a written warning last November after swearing at a boss.

Alex, who said that the Labour Relations Agency is now looking at his case, said that his sacking had left him signing on for the first time and facing homelessness.

Explained Alex: “I live with my girlfriend, Kelly. We are engaged. When I told my landlord that I would be late with my rent, he decided to sell the house we live in.

“He has served me with four weeks notice. Now I have no income and soon I will be homeless.”

Airport management told Sunday Life this weekend that it did “not comment on staff matters” and declined to say anything further.

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