MLA and ex press officer settle dispute

Alderman Samuel Gardiner
Alderman Samuel Gardiner

An industrial tribunal involving an Upper Bann Ulster Unionist Assembly Member and his former Press officer has been settled.

William Lloyd Lavery took the case against veteran Upper Bann MLA Samuel Gardiner, alleging he was unfairly dismissed.

Mr Lavery had worked for Mr Gardiner as a Press officer and adviser.

He claimed he was unfairly dismissed and took a separate claim for alleged unlawful deduction of wages and breach of contract.

The case opened in August and was relisted for last Thursday.

However, it emerged that the case has been settled, but no details have been released.

The Department of Employment and Learning confirmed: “The case has been conciliated (settled with the assistance of the Labour Relations Agency).”

Mr Lavery worked for Mr Gardiner for over 10 years.

Recently he has assisted as a Press officer for Ukip in Northern Ireland.

He has declined to comment.

The Ulster Unionist Party and Mr Gardiner also indicated they would not comment on the matter.

Mr Gardiner (75) is a long-serving UUP politician.

He was elected to Lurgan Borough Council - which subsequently became Craigavon Borough Council - in 1963. He was mayor of Lurgan in 1968 and mayor of Craigavon on three more occasions.

A former High Sheriff for Co Armagh, he is a Justice of the Peace.

He is a past president and life member of Waringstown Cricket Club, a director of Glenavon Football Club and a former bell-ringer, member of the vestry and glebe warden of Shankill Parish Church.