Thursday, February 08, 2007

MS society suspends NI council

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Britain and Northern Ireland today suspended the entire council of the charity in Northern Ireland.

It made the move at a board meeting after deciding a breakdown in communication between the local council and the governing body was preventing provision of the best service possible to MS sufferers in Northern Ireland.

A total of 38 people were suspended — the chairmen and secretaries of each of the 19 branches across Northern Ireland.

MS Society chief executive Simon Gillespie said: "We have taken these steps with great reluctance as a result of a lack of co-operation from officers and senior staff at the MS Society of Northern Ireland, which we believe is not in the interests of people with MS.

"The priority of the trustees is to make sure that the best possible support is available to everyone living with MS." He said their short-term goal was to ensure service provided to people with MS in Northern Ireland, particularly at their Resource Centre in Belfast, would continue.

"In the longer term, we are putting in interim arrangements to make sure our members and branches in Northern Ireland are fully consulted over how the MS Society is run in the future," said Mr Gillespie.

He said he wanted personally to appeal to staff and volunteers to work alongside the society board to ensure people with MS were not affected by the suspensions.

Chairman Tony Kennan said the MS Society UK-wide provided a lot of support to the MS community in Northern Ireland and wanted to strengthen their presence in the province.

He said: "We want the MS Society in Northern Ireland to return as soon as possible to being an organisation run by local people, providing the best possible services to people with MS, as part of a UK-wide MS Society with all the benefits that brings."


© 2007