FIRST WITH THE NEWS…
Vixens has decided to publish the following statement in full as a second part to our exclusive blog yesterday, following a number of questions which were tweeted to us today.
Clarification regarding Statements made by Mr John McCallister about NI21
Contrary to the statements issued by Mr McCallister, we should like to clarify the circumstances surrounding the recent Carecall involvement with staff at NI21.
Carecall were initially contacted by Mr McCallister without any consultation with the NI21 executive or the party leader, the executive were informed by him of his contact with the organisation after it had happened.
This has been confirmed by Carecall.
As no complaints or allegations had been received about Mr McCrea – confirmed by Mr McCallister himself in writing, the executive took legal advice on how best to proceed to investigate what Mr McCallister described as ‘rumours’. The legal advice was very clear that approaching Carecall to investigate this matter was ‘wholly inappropriate’ and that other courses of action should be followed. This advice was passed to Mr McCallister, who chose to ignore it and the wishes of executive, who wanted to abide by that legal advice and proceed accordingly.
Neither the NI21 executive nor party commissioned this work by Carecall, therefore, contrary to Mr McCallister’s statement, we do not have the power to stop it. Mr McCallister initiated the investigation, therefore all matters to do with the content of the enquiry and interviews have been discussed only with him and not with the executive.
Details of this entire process have been given to the media and other individuals either through direct interviews or leaks throughout the past number weeks. We believe this is a wholly inappropriate and unprofessional way in which to conduct such a matter and therefore we could not possibly have any confidence in the independence, fairness and accuracy of the process, nor indeed the motivation behind it.
The executive would prefer that any potential allegations – should they ever be received – be investigated under proper legal advice, by a wholly independent body reporting solely to the executive on conclusion of the process and not in what appears to be a piecemeal fashion to those who would seem to wish to make personal political gain through the media.
The executive have sought and continue to seek, proper legal advice on how to proceed, but would also encourage any member of staff who has a genuine complaint to make about his or her treatment should do so using the proper procedures outlined in their contracts. We understand Mr McCrea is initiating separate legal action.
Given the serious nature of these events, the motivation behind them, their timing and the inevitable consequences of the same on the party, the election candidates and the results, the executive, as well as reviewing any allegations against Mr McCrea, is currently considering what disciplinary action may need to be instigated against Mr McCallister.
As this matter is now the subject of various legal proceedings, we shall not be making any further comment on it or giving any interviews at this time.
NI21 Executive Committee