Belfast Telegraph

Sport NI soon to be back at full strength

By Noel McAdam

Crisis-hit Sport NI will soon be back to full strength - after operating for six months with less than half a 'team'.

A raft of new board members for the quango is set to be announced following en-masse resignations which plunged it into chaos in July.

Sinn Fein Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said she expected the new appointments to be made next month.

The organisation, which is the leading public body for the development of sport in the province, saw two-thirds of its board members quit following a severely critical internal report.

It pinpointed "the leadership, management and the overall culture within Sport NI" and it later emerged around one in 10 of the entire workforce had complained about their treatment.

Ms Ni Chuilin said a "culture of fear" existed inside the organisation and relationships had "broken down" - but told a Stormont committee it was a "complete mystery" when the board members had quit.

Nine of the 14 board members stood down, including a director of the Open University in Ireland, a policy manager with the Equality Commission and the Irish FA's former head of communications.

Board members wrote to the minister saying they had at all times operated with honesty and integrity and there was no suggestion of any wrongdoing on their part.

In a written Assembly answer Ms Ni Chuilin said: "Interviews with candidates have concluded, and the next step is for me to select new board members from those candidates deemed suitable for appointment following the interview process. I expect these appointments to be in December."

Belfast Telegraph


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