CITY OF CULTURE goes to court

Former City of Culture Marketing Director Garbhan Downey is taking the Culture Company to an industrial tribunal.

Former City of Culture Marketing Director Garbhan Downey is taking the Culture Company to an industrial tribunal.

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Derry’s Culture Company is expected to come under major scrutiny as a former high profile employee begins an industrial tribunal against the organisation after being sacked earlier this year.

The case is being taken by former marketing boss Garbhan Downey who was controversially fired by the Culture Company in March, five months after being suspended from his position as Director of Communications and Marketing .

Since Mr. Downey’s dismissal, marketing responsibilities for the City of Culture year have been transferred to Derry City Council.

Among those expected to be called as a witness in the case is the Chairman of the Culture Company, Martin Bradley.

Prominent Derry solicitor Des Doherty, who is representing Mr. Downey, said yesterday that the public had a right to hear “both sides of the story”.

He added: “It is unfortunate that as the culture year proceeds to a close we have matters being dealt with in a courtroom, with lawyers and witnesses being cross examined. But those are the methods we have to use to expose the truth. These hearings are the fairest way for the matter to be resolved.”

The tribunal is the latest controversy to rock the organisation behind the City of Culture celebrations after a number of resignations and reported spats with Derry City Council.

Earlier this month Foyle MP Mark Durkan issued a public call for an end to “tensions” between the two official bodies.

The tribunal is expected to begin sitting in Belfast tomorrow afternoon.