Advisers’ quit Trust project linked to ‘gagging orders’

TWO of the Fermanagh ‘experts by experience’ who were assisting the Western Trust have stepped down after being asked to sign what have been called “gagging orders”. 
As part of the Pathfinder community engagement project, which was set up by the Trust last year with the promise of improving local services, seven members of the public from Fermanagh and west Tyrone were chosen to be “experts by experience.”
Five of the seven volunteers were from Fermanagh. Barry Boyle from Brookeborough, Barry Mimnagh from Ederney, Noel Baxter from Ballinamallard, Dianne Little for Ardess, and Caroline Wheeler from Enniskillen. 
The Herald had been told two of the local advisers had stepped down from the project, however, after being asked to sign a document preventing them from talking about Pathfinder. 
The Trust has now confirmed both Ms Little and Ms Wheeler have “made the decision not to continue as experts by experience.” The Trust also confirmed that, “in the spirit of respect and to ensure the integrity of all the volunteer service users in this involvement process”, the seven volunteer experts were asked to review and sign “an involvement agreement.” Only five chose to do so. 
“While we are disappointed that Dianne and Caroline have chosen not to remain in the project, the Pathfinder team will continue to work closely with the remaining five appointed ‘Experts by Experience’ and we will review other requests, from the many applications received, to add to the team,” said Anne Donaghey, assistant director for the Pathfinder project. 

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