The NEC Appeals Tribunal in London have overturned the decision of the Belfast and District Branch of the NUJ to reject my membership.
I represented myself at the hearing in London yesterday and today’s decision has vindicated my earlier assertions that I did meet the criteria for membership, despite the Belfast & District branch asserting otherwise.
The public intervention of the Belfast and District NUJ into this matter was, in my opinion, foolish. I never sought conflict in relation to this matter, however I had no option but to defend myself when others sought to aggressively oppose my application, for what I felt were entirely illegitimate reasons.
However, the appeal tribunal has ruled definitively in my favour, so that is where the matter ends.
There cannot be a glass ceiling for people of the Unionist community, or those whose views are seen as unpopular. We must challenge inequalities, or attempts to tell us that certain professions- such as law and journalism- aren’t for us.
I look forward to the support of the Branch, and the wider NUJ, when the inevitable legal onslaught- designed to get to my sources in relation to Nama- comes.
Moves are already afoot in this regard, and such attempts to use legal mechanisms, in order to expose sources of whistleblower and journalistic material, should be resisted by all that cherish freedom of expression and the freedom of the press.
I want to place on record my thanks for the NUJ lifetime member of 61 years standing, that very kindly wrote in support of me. I have never met this individual, yet he took the time to offer his support. (I have not sought this individuals permission to name him publicly, so therefore I won’t do so at this stage).