Major recruitment row brewing between ISME and the Small Firms Association

IBEC's Small Firms Association has been accused of accessing restricted ISME user data in an attempt to recruit its members

Newstalk has learned that the Chief Executive of ISME, Mark Fielding, has written to the Director General of IBEC, Danny McCoy accusing IBEC or its subsidiary organisation, the Small Firms Association, of unauthorised access to ISME’s online Directory of Members, and of using that information to try to recruit ISME members to the SFA.

The station has also seen a copy of an email sent by ISME to the Commissioner for Data Protection of this alleged unauthorised access of information which they say is password protected and which is intended to be used only by ISME members to contact each other.

Business editor Vincent Wall spoke to Mark Fielding early this morning and he confirmed that he had written both letters. He said they had been contacted by up to 50 ISME members who said they had been contacted by the rival Small Firms Association, on contact details that were held on the ISME Members’ Directory.

Mr Fielding say he hadn’t received a response from IBEC yet and Newstalk has been unable to contact a representative of IBEC so far this morning.

In a note to his own members advising them of developments, Mr Fielding writes: "Fair competition is expected, but unauthorised accessing of our Members’ Directory, is as Conor McGregor would say 'below the belt.'"