Northern Ireland news

Sorcha Eastwood to receive 'substantial five-figure sum' over 'IRA mouthpiece' claim

Sorcha Eastwood

AN Alliance Party councillor is to receive a substantial five-figure sum from a former DUP representative for falsely accusing her of being a "mouthpiece for the Provisional IRA", the High Court has heard.

Graham Craig also issued an unreserved apology to Sorcha Eastwood, accepting that his comments on social media were completely unfounded and compromised her security.

The pay-out, which covers damages and legal costs, was confirmed as part of a settlement reached in Ms Eastwood's libel action.

She sued over the contents of a tweet by Mr Craig in August 2018.

It was published shortly after Ms Eastwood, who serves on Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, spoke at a rally supporting families of those killed by British soldiers in the 1971 Ballymurphy massacre.

Mr Craig, a DUP councillor in Belfast at the time, later deleted the post and posted an apology for remarks he accepted were untrue.

The case was listed for a hearing to deal with the issue of damages.

Following discussions Mr Justice Maguire was told the action had been resolved, with a statement read out on behalf of Mr Craig.

"Graham Craig accepts that he should never have published this tweet and unreservedly apologises to her for damaging her reputation, injuring her feelings and compromising her security," it read.

Outside court Ms Eastwood said: "I'm relieved that this matter has been resolved and that I have now received a fulsome and comprehensive apology.

"This totally unfounded allegation caused me enormous distress and upset, and I'm pleased that my reputation has now been vindicated and the record set straight."

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