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Jerome Quinn sacked for ‘not being impartial’

A BBC GAA sports presenter was sacked because he had compromised his impartiality by sending blogs criticising the corporation, an industrial tribunal has been told.

Co Tyrone man Jerome Quinn, once the self-styled face of BBC Northern Ireland’s GAA coverage, is claiming unfair dismissal and racial and religious discrimination after he was sacked last year over the blogs criticising how the broadcaster treated the sport.

On the final day of evidence from the BBC, head of radio news Kathleen Carragher said the decision to dismiss Mr Quinn, a Catholic, was “not taken lightly” but that the blogs by Mr Quinn amounted to gross misconduct.

The tribunal heard that sports presenter Stephen Watson had witnessed Mr Quinn writing the blogs while at work.

The blogs meant Mr Quinn could no longer be viewed as impartial, Ms Carragher said. “The BBC has a very privileged position because we are a public service broadcaster and we have a duty to the licence payer to deliver news in an impartial and fair manner and if you are a BBC journalist you have to be impartial... and I felt Jerome had not subscribed to that,” she said.

Mr Quinn previously said he felt sidelined after Shane Glynn took over as sports editor because he had less TV work and was given early morning shifts on Radio Ulster. Miss Carragher said presenters could feel sidelined “if a new editor wants to do something new with a new face”.

But Mr Quinn’s role of early morning radio reports was not evidence of that. “I don’t consider doing reports on (morning news show) Good Morning Ulster as being sidelined.”

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Both sides are set to give their final submissions to the panel tribunal today though judgment is expected to be reserved for some weeks.

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