SF man takes legal action

A Lurgan man who is one of Sinn Fein’s most senior figures is taking a case against the party for discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Leo Green was Sinn Fein’s political director at Stormont until his shock departure ahead of February’s Ard Fheis.

Reports that he had left were rubbished at the time with the party insisting that the former hunger striker had renewed his membership just a month earlier.

But it was confirmed this week that Mr Green is taking an unprecedented employment case.

He is suing on grounds of discrimination for holding a political opinion, unfair dismissal and breach of contract.

The revelation is expected to cause embarrassment to Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness who was in England this week for a state banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth for Irish President Michael D Higgins.

Mr Green (61) was regarded as a key player in Sinn Fein’s Stormont set-up since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Described by government insiders as the party’s ‘chief executive’ he worked as a special adviser to former health minister Bairbre de Brun before joining Martin McGuinness’ staff.

He was jailed in the late 1970s for the murder of a police officer and spent 53 days on hunger strike in 1980. His brother John Francis (27) was shot by loyalists in Co Monaghan in 1975 while on the run, having escaped from Long Kesh two years earlier in the clothing of a third brother Fr Gerrard Green.

At the time of Leo Green’s departure one newspaper linked his departure to his opposition to welfare reform.