DUP man makes offer of amends to Alliance’s Sorcha Eastwood

An Alliance Party councillor is seeking libel damages from a former DUP representative for falsely accusing her of being a “mouthpiece for the Provisional IRA”.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 2:47 pm
Sorcha Eastwood

The High Court was told today that Graham Craig has made an “unqualified offer of amends” in the lawsuit brought against him by Sorcha Eastwood.

A further hearing listed for early next year will determine the level of any compensation and costs to be paid out.

Ms Eastwood, who serves on Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, is standing for Alliance in the Lagan Valley constituency at next month’s General Election.

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Graham Craig

She sued over a remark Mr Craig made on social media in August last year.

The tweet was published shortly after Ms Eastwood 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 issued an apology in which he accepted his statement was untrue.

Proceedings now centre on the level of any damages to be paid out.

In court today Ms Eastwood’s barrister, Peter Girvan, confirmed: “An unqualified offer of amends was provided (and) accepted by my client.”

As the case was adjourned to next February, counsel told Mr Justice Maguire: “It requires a hearing if the parties can’t agree compensation and costs.”

Neither Ms Eastwood nor Mr Craig were present in court.

But a solicitor for the Alliance representative set out her reasons for taking legal action.

In a statement, Laura Cunningham of Johnsons law firm said: “On August 13 2018, former DUP councillor Graham Craig published a false and highly defamatory tweet regarding our client.

“Our client is a well-respected public representative. She is currently a serving Alliance Party councillor for Castlereagh South and a candidate for the constituency of Lagan Valley in he forthcoming Westminster election.

“Whilst it is unfortunate that our client has been compelled to bring these proceedings against Mr Craig in order to vindicate her reputation, she is nevertheless confident that her good name will be restored.”