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McConkey and another v Simon Community Northern Ireland
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1 User Commentary

Justis Editorial (Justis Staff) 30 August 2011

Employment of former paramilitary prisoners

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The House of Lords handed down judgment in the case of McConkey and another v the Simon Community [2009] UKHL 24 on 20th May 2009. The appellants had sought employment with the respondent, a charity dealing with the homeless, but had been rejected when evidence came to light of their previous convictions for paramilitary activity. The appellants contended that the refusal to offer them employment was in breach of the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 SI 1998/3162.

The House dismissed the appeals, having discussed articles 2 and 3 in particular of the 1998 regulations. The House found that article 2 was not limited to currently held political opinions, and the appellants’ previous espousal of an armed campaign for a United Ireland was a relevant matter for the respondents. The respondents were therefore entitled to refuse employment. Otherwise, the homeless individuals who sought help from the respondent could be forced to associate with people who approved of the violence that had potentially affected their lives.


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