31/07/2001

Hospice management step down

The management team of the Northern Ireland Hospice have resigned their positions and ruled out any chance of re-election to the council because they are “too closely linked” with the Tom Hill affair.

Tom Hill was suspended for seven months and was eventually sacked from his post in a bitter row with the hospice management.

The management council said he had lost his position because of what it called a "total collapse of trust and confidence".

In a statement on Tuesday, the council said it had now decided to stand down in advance of its annual general meeting in October. A new council of management has been appointed to fill the positions until that date.

The council said it had taken the step as it felt the members proposed for election to the council at its extraordinary general meeting on 8 August were "too closely linked with the difficulties experienced over recent months".

New chairperson Rosemary Calvert said she hoped difficulties endured by the hospice were now over.

She told BBC Radio Ulster on Tuesday: "Our priority is a bridge-building exercise, a reconciling exercise with those members of the hospice who feel that things have not gone well."

In its statement, the hospice said: "If the Northern Ireland Hospice is to have a fresh start supported by a renewed confidence from the general public, business sector and government then it must begin with new faces and a new dynamism which brings no baggage from the past to its profile or agenda.

The charity indicated earlier this year that it could lose valuable funding this year because of the Hill affair and the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Mr Hill was one of the founders of the £5m campaign to build a Northern Ireland children's hospice. He has appealed against his dismissal and his supporters cancelled some fundraising events for the new Northern Ireland children's hospice, in the hope he would be reinstated. (AMcE)

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