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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 07:03 GMT 08:03 UK
Equality body denies 'jobs bias'
Employee in an office
Mr Tosh criticised previous figures he received
The Equality Commission has been accused of "hypocrisy" after figures showed its Protestant and male workers were significantly under-represented.

The figures were obtained by Castlereagh DUP councillor Charlie Tosh through the Freedom of Information Act.

He said that of 140 employees monitored on 1 January - 45 were men and 49 employees were Protestant, 80 were Catholic and 11 "cannot be determined".

The body rejected the accusation and said it was addressing the imbalance.

Commission director Bob Collins said the under-representation was an "undeniable fact".

The fact that there is under-representation, not just in the commission, but in any other employer in Northern Ireland, does not necessarily mean there is discrimination being practised
Bob Collins
Equality Commission

However, he added: "It is an enduring frustration for the commission that it hasn't been able to attract to its staff the number of Protestants that it would like and the number of men that it would like.

"I think it is perfectly proper for anyone to discuss this issue."

He added: "The notion that there is discrimination being practised by the Equality Commission is absolutely untrue and utterly unsustainable - it isn't.

"The fact that there is under-representation, not just in the commission, but in any other employer in Northern Ireland, does not necessarily mean there is discrimination being practised."

Mr Tosh criticised previous figures he received about the make-up of the commission.

"I was appalled at the under-representation of Protestants and the under-representation of the male gender," he said.

"When I received the figures as of January 2006, I could not believe what I was reading.

"The Equality Commission should very quickly be done away with."

Mr Tosh said it was "a blatant, obvious discriminatory organisation".




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