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Former BBC reporter Jerome Quinn took benefits as he worked, panel hears


Dismissal claims: Jerome Quinn

Dismissal claims: Jerome Quinn

Dismissal claims: Jerome Quinn

Former BBC sports reporter Jerome Quinn was paid almost £11,000 for freelance work and £1,750 in jobseekers allowance in the months after his sacking, an employment tribunal has heard.

However, Mr Quinn denied any wrongdoing as he said he only claimed the social security benefit when he worked less than 16 hours in a week.

The Tyrone man, who was sacked last year after he was discovered criticising the BBC coverage of GAA in anonymous web posts, is alleging unfair dismissal and discrimination on grounds of his Irish identity.

A hearing in Belfast yesterday was told some details of Mr Quinn’s income in the months after he lost his job. According to personal statements provided by Mr Quinn, he was paid £10,770 between April and September last year for work done for BT and the Ulster GAA.

During the same period he also claimed £1,759 in jobseekers allowance, the tribunal was told.

When challenged about this by the BBC’s lawyer Mr Tariq Sadiq, Mr Quinn replied: “It certainly wasn’t as simple as that. I was on jobseekers allowance. I then made an agreement to work with Ulster GAA from the middle of May for an eight to 10-week period but we didn’t know whether it would be for more than 16 hours a week.

“I relayed those details to the jobseekers allowance people and told them I was getting some work and signed off for various periods. The work finished at about July 20. Then I had no further work with the Ulster GAA until November.”

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Mr Quinn, who is representing himself, also denied an accusation by Mr Sadiq that he had lied about details of a conversation he had with a colleague in London about the impartiality of the head of sports at the BBC, Shane Glynn, and presenter Jackie Fullerton, in judging the BBC NI Sports Personality of the Year Award.

Mr Quinn has alleged both men said they would not be in favour of a GAA player winning.

Of the conversation, Mr Sadiq said: “You have just made that up, haven’t you?”

Mr Quinn replied: “I think it’s a disgraceful comment and completely unnecessary. I totally refute it.”

Mr Quinn told the hearing he would consider calling the colleague from London as a witness at the tribunal.

The panel is expected to begin questioning Mr Quinn today.