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Alliance's Sorcha Eastwood launches libel action action against DUP's Graham Craig over 'IRA mouthpiece' tweet

Alliance representative Sorcha Eastwood

ALLIANCE representative Sorcha Eastwood has launched defamation proceedings against the Belfast DUP councillor who accused her of speaking on behalf of republican paramilitaries.

Confirmation of the legal action against councillor Graham Craig comes just over a fortnight after he publicly apologised to Ms Eastwood.

Mr Craig, who defected to Arlene Foster's party from the Ulster Unionists in 2016, made the initial remark on Twitter in August.

Councillor Graham Craig with DUP leader Arlene Foster

The Botanic ward councillor, who deleted the tweet within 24 hours of posting it, had reacted to Ms Eastwood voicing "solidarity" with the families of the 1972 Ballymurphy massacre.

Mr Craig posted his apology on September 18 via a link from his Twitter feed.

It said: "On 13 August 2018, I made a statement on my Twitter account regarding Sorcha Eastwood alleging she is a mouthpiece for the Provisional IRA.

"I accept that my statement is untrue and should never have been published in the first place. I sincerely apologise to Ms Eastwood and her family for any hurt and distress I may have caused."

However, yesterday Ms Eastwood's solicitors confirmed that defamation proceedings had been issued in the High Court against Mr Craig.

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