The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has revealed that Jennifer Maguire, the MD of Belfast PR agency Core Communications, has been expelled for 'unprofessional behaviour'.
The CIPR has said that Maguire is on public record as having fabricated evidence, lied and acted ‘vindictively, aggressively and unreasonably’ at two employment tribunals in 2008 and 2009.
In this case, the CIPR made the complaint about Maguire itself.
Phil Morgan, CIPR director of policy and communications, said: “Complaints are normally made by individuals who feel some wrong has been done to them or to others. But Jennifer Maguire has had a high profile in Northern Ireland, and the allegations were serious, so we decided it was in the public interest for the CIPR itself to act as the complainant.
“This way, everyone can see that we act firmly and impartially to uphold standards of professional conduct among our members.”
Before this, Maguire had been a prominent member of the CIPR in Northern Ireland, had acted as voluntary chair of the regional committee and gained three awards for her work between 2006 and 2009. The CIPR has said she allowed her membership of the CIPR to lapse around the time when the formal complaint was made against her.
UPDATED: Jennifer Maguire has told The Drum: "Contrary to CIPR's statement, I left CIPR prior to any complaint being made against me, and I have never been informed as to who made the complaint and why it was made.
"I left of my own volition because I was dissatisfied with the manner in which its services were being delivered in Northern Ireland, therefore I cannot have been expelled from an organisation of which I am not a member.
"The nature of this complaint would indicate that it was made in a purely vindictive manner by someone within the institute, as it has nothing whatsoever to do with my professional ability.
"I have informed CIPR that I am seeking legal advice on this matter."
The CIPR responded to Maguire’s claim, stating that her membership lapse had no bearing on the case, because the body had continued to make a decision in her absence.
A spokesperson explained that the reason for the CIPR publishing the decision was to make the situation known to her clients and media contacts.
They added that any protest by Maguire that she had not been expelled was ‘completely false’.
UPDATED 30/01: The CIPR has issued a correction to their original statement: "We are happy to acknowledge that Jennifer Maguire is director and owner, not managing director, of Core Communications; that she resigned from the CIPR before she was notified of the formal complaint against her; and that the description of her as having fabricated evidence, lied and acted vindictively, aggressively and unreasonably at two employment tribunals was in fact given at two sessions of the same tribunal. We have amended our public statement accordingly."