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Monday, 18 March, 2002, 12:20 GMT
Agency chief 'shocked' at arrest
Ulster Scots banner
Mr Mallon is accused of arranging a meeting online
The chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency has said he does not think the arrest of a consultant on child sex charges will damage the agency's work in the USA.

Lord Laird said he was shocked to hear that Belfast man Stan Mallon had been arrested at a hotel in Chicago.

Mr Mallon is accused of arranging a meeting on the internet with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl.


He wasn't in Chicago on Ulster Scots business, he was a part-time consultant with us

Lord Laird
Ulster Scots Agency

However, when he turned up at a Chicago hotel he was arrested by officers from Cook County Sheriff's child exploitation unit.

It is understood Mr Mallon, 62, had stopped in Chicago as he travelled to a St Patrick's week celebration in Washington.

Northern Ireland Culture Minister Michael McGimpsey, whose department jointly runs the Ulster Scots Agency, said Mr Mallon had been employed on a temporary basis.

"I'm aware that a legal process is under way in America and we must allow due process to take its course," he said.

'Totally devastated'

Chairman of the Ulster Scots Agency, Ulster Unionist peer Lord Laird, confirmed Mr Mallon had been in the United States to attend receptions in Washington as part of the St Patrick's week celebrations.

He said he realised something was wrong when he arrived in Washington and Mr Mallon was not there.
Lord Laird:
Lord Laird: "Informed by British officials"

"He wasn't in Chicago on Ulster Scots business. He was a part-time consultant with us," he said.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster on Monday, Lord Laird said: "I was informed by British officials about what had happened.

"Mr Mallon was a part-time consultant who was helping us with administrative activities - some of which would be involved as acting as an interim chief executive while we appoint a full-time one.

"What I must say is that the standard of work which he did carry out for the agency was of the highest possible quality.

"At this moment in time I must point out that that he has only been charged and he has not been found guilty."

He added: "I was totally devastated. I have a very high opinion of Mr Mallon's work rate, of his commitment and of his enthusiasm.

"I am shattered and I am deeply sad for his family and for himself."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Ulster Scots Chairman Lord Laird:
"He was a part-time consultant"
BBC NI's Shane Glynn:
"Stan Mallon flew to the United States last weekend"
See also:

03 Jan 01 | Northern Ireland
New Ulster-Scots institute
11 Dec 00 | Northern Ireland
Research boost for universities
19 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
Cash boost for Ulster Scots
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