Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Sacked Northern Ireland Water director denies SDLP link

A sacked director of Northern Ireland Water was in no “marriage of convenience” with the SDLP, he told the High Court.

Declan Gormley is suing Sinn Fein and two of its representatives for libel.

His defamation action centres on the contents of two Press releases issued in the names of MLA Cathal Boylan and former Assemblyman Willie Clarke.

Mr Gormley was one of four non-executive directors sacked from the board of NI Water in March 2010 by Conor Murphy, the Sinn Fein Minister for Regional Development at the time.

Mr Gormley emphatically denies any wrong-doing.

Lawyers for the three defendants — Sinn Fein, Mr Clarke and Mr Boylan — are claiming qualified privilege.

Continuing his cross-examination on day four of the trial, defence counsel Martin McCann explored a meeting between the sacked director and SDLP MLA John Dallat.

Mr Gormley told him that he had no difficulty with any politicians fighting his case.

But he rejected any claim that he was happy for his dismissal to be used as a “political football”.

On Mr McCann’s suggestion that Mr Gormley’s contact with the SDLP was “a marriage of convenience”, the businessman replied: “I refute that.”

The hearing was adjourned until next Wednesday.

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