The Northern Ireland Executive Office has confirmed that a number of claims have been made by former Ilex staff to the Industrial Tribunal.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that as many as half of the former employees of Derry’s now defunct regeneration company have taken a case against the government, after their jobs were made redundant and staff were not transferred to Derry & Strabane Council.
Ilex had been operational for 13 years, and its closure in March 2016 resulted in the loss of 18 jobs. The NI Executive Office (formerly the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister) wound the company up, and has taken over responsibility for the regeneration of the 10.5 hectare Ebrington site.
However the Executive Office plans to transfer this responsibility to Derry City & Strabane District Council next year.
Speaking about the action taken by former Ilex staff, a spokesperson for the Executive Office confirmed:
“There are a number of claims from former Ilex staff before the Industrial Tribunal.
“It would not be appropriate for the Department to comment at this stage.”
Ilex was tasked to plan, develop and sustain the economic, physical and social regeneration of the Derry City Council area, including the former army bases at Ebrington and Fort George, although the latter was later transferred back to the DSD.
Meanwhile a spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council yesterday confirmed that the intention remained for Ebrington to transfer to Council ownership.
She said: “A due diligence process is currently underway to ascertain the resources needed to ensure the successful handover and maintenance of this regionally significant site, before plans are finalised for their final transfer from OFMDFM.”
Speaking about the Fort George site, she added:
“The future ownership of the site at Fort George is dependent on the transfer of regeneration powers to council from central government, but no timeframe for transfer has as yet been agreed.”