Belfast Telegraph

Gormley legal bill adds up to £90k

A Stormont department that apologised to a former director of Northern Ireland Water is set to pay out around £90,000 to cover his legal costs.

Regional Development minister Danny Kennedy said sorry to Declan Gormley last year over his dismissal as a non-executive director by former DRD minister, Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy, in 2010.

As well as the apology, in settling the case taken by Mr Gormley the department agreed to pay his legal fees.

Mr Kennedy today told the Assembly that bill now sat at just over £80,000, with some costs yet to be added on.

"The final legal costs are expected to be close to £90,000," he added.

"My department is endeavouring to complete matters as quickly as possible."

In apologising to Mr Gormley last year, Mr Kennedy said the Department for Regional Development (DRD) acknowledged he had not been guilty of any personal wrongdoing or misconduct.

Mr Murphy questioned the DRD's decision to settle the case and said the apology was not issued in his name.

Two months earlier, Mr Gormley won a libel case against Sinn Fein over press statements the party issued in relation to his dismissal.

He was awarded £80,000 plus costs.

Mr Kennedy told the Assembly his decision to settle Mr Gormley's case against the department had been taken in the public interest.

"I have no doubt that had my predecessor acted differently I would not be dealing with this case and the legal costs may not have arisen at all, but those matters were outside my control," he said.

"When I inherited this case, I took the time to look at it objectively and fairly, came to my conclusions and did so very much in the public interest."

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