“the outcome of the tribunal had effectively branded him as “sectarian” and “a liar”…”

2 views

So no surprise that Sinn Fein are training some big guns on Conor Murphy’s successor at DRD, Danny Kennedy for deciding not to appeal the Equality Commission’s Fair Employment Tribunal’s ruling against the South Armagh MP… As Mr Murphy told the BBC, it leaves him in an invidious position:

The Sinn Fein representative told the BBC that the outcome of the tribunal had effectively branded him as “sectarian” and “a liar” and said he did not intend to let the findings stand.

Quite.

The cost of these proceedings so far is estimated to be several hundred thousand pounds (no settlement has yet been made for compensation). And it is not the only complicated legal case that Mr Murphy has left behind him at DRD.

Interestingly in a presser on the Sinn Fein party website, the former Minister appears to suggest that Mr Kennedy ought have got rid of the very man he (Mr Murphy) appointed as Chair of Northern Ireland Water:

Further to this the glaring contradiction stands that my decision not to appoint Alan Lennon is sectarian yet Danny Kennedy’s decision to do likewise stands without any challenge.

Danny Kennedy took essentially the same decision as I did not to appoint Alan Lennon to the board of NIW. He has not explained the rationale for this.

I would challenge the Minister to do this and explain how my decision, which I stand over and have explained publicly, is deemed sectarian yet his is not?

A certain tortured logic at play there. The truth is Mr Kennedy would have no grounds for dismissing the man Mr Murphy put in place without the potential of invoking the kind of trouble Mr Murphy now finds himself in.

One of the former members of NIW’s Board, whom Mr Murphy himself sacked, Declan Gormley is currently suing:

…Mr Murphy personally and the department for misfeasance and defamation. Mr Gormley’s offer to withdraw the case if the department and Mr Murphy apologised to him and cleared his name was declined and the case is now expected to be heard in December.

The last piece of this intriguing jigsaw comes from one of Mr Kennedy’s current fellow members of the Executive, Sinn Fein’s Minister for Agriculture, Michelle O’Neill. The News Letter again:

As soon as the tribunal decision emerged last month, Sinn Fein called for an appeal and on Monday Sinn Fein minister Michelle O’Neill claimed that Attorney General John Larkin agreed that it “should be appealed”.

The Attorney General’s office declined to comment on Sinn Fein’s claim. It is understood that the advice to which Minister O’Neill referred was given to Mr Kennedy and then circulated to every Executive minister.

The convention, as Slugger understands it, is that such advice is generally circulated under the terms of strictest confidence. It’s also true to say that it is the job of the AG to advise rather to instruct the Minister, as Ms O’Neill appears to imply.

It’s also true to say that if there was clear and substantial grounds identified for appealing the Equality Commission’s ruling, Mr Kennedy would find it hard to refuse to take action…

And in fact the absence of any public discussion of just what those grounds might be suggests this three ring circus smacks just a too much of desperation on someone’s part…

Adds“the tribunal finds the minister’s evidence is implausible and lacks credibility”.

, ,

  • The Lodger

    Couldn’t Murphy launch his own appeal paid for out of his own/Sinn Fein’s pocket? Is that feasible, because if he feels strongly enough about it then that is what he should do. Pretty embarrassing if he lost though.

  • Pete Baker

    Mick

    Probably worth linking back to the Fair Employment Tribunal’s findings – “the tribunal finds the minister’s evidence is implausible and lacks credibility”.

    And, as Brian Feeney said

    This is unforgiveable, shameful stuff worthy of the record of any unionist ministry pre-1972. Murphy invoked the support of Felicity Huston who audited the appointment only for her to cut the feet from under him saying that not all the papers had been made available to her. The tribunal also pointed out that she had asked for the code of practice to be amended once she caught a whiff of what was emanating from Murphy’s department.

    Not able to produce a single fact to support his ‘refutation’, Murphy then had the cheek to ask the DRD to appeal. Only someone secure in the knowledge it won’t cost him a penny would ask for an appeal. On what grounds? He doesn’t say. We’re told Murphy’s behaviour will cost you well over a quarter of a million in compensation and costs. He walks away scot-free, careless of the damage he has inflicted on any notion of fairness and equality unionists might receive from nationalists in power.

  • wild turkey

    Mick

    not to be pedantic, but to be helpful.

    there is no “appealing the Equality Commission’s ruling”. It was Fair Employment Tribunal that made the ruling, not the Equality Commission. I believe that in this particular instance the Equality Commission may have supported, ie funded, the legal fees incurred by the applicant.

    following a decision like this, the employer will make undertakings to liase with the Equality Commission to review and enhance their practices, in this case recruitment and selection.

    PB, thanks for the Feeney quote. This one gets filed under

    ‘An Ireland of Equals’

  • Mister_Joe

    Why is he mad at the hatter? Doesn’t his cap fit?

  • http://garibaldy.wordpress.com Garibaldy

    I’d have thought the track record of Murphy’s party and its self-professed role as defender of the interests of what it likes to call “Catholics/nationalists/republicans/” were more than enough to brand him sectarian. But that just makes his party the same as the rest of the big four.

  • Republic of Connaught

    If a UUP minister had been accused of sectarian decision making against Catholics would Danny Kennedy still not have sanctioned an appeal for that UUP minister? Not likely.

    It’s disgraceful behaviour by Murphy if it’s true but he was certainly entitled to expect an appeal when his reputation was being tarnished.

    Danny Kennedy has in fact put the lens on himself and his own party’s sectarian motivations for not allowing the appeal.

  • son of sam

    In the absence of any official comment from Sinn Fein on this issue,perhaps Chris Donnelly could ride to the rescue and represent Mr Murphy’s interests.And then again it’s holiday time and no one in Connolly House can find the time to manufacture some righteous indignation ! Poor Conor is a victim just like Sean Quinn.

  • The Lodger

    “Danny Kennedy has in fact put the lens on himself and his own party’s sectarian motivations for not allowing the appeal.”

    It would appear that Murphy has managed to successfully divert attention away from the fact that he is guilty of religious discrimination to the satisfaction of at least some of his voter base.

  • http://garibaldy.wordpress.com Garibaldy

    Son of Sam,

    It seems Sean Quinn is only a victim north of the border. South of the border (or at least south of Cavan/Monaghan), he deserves to be punished it seems, at least according to Mary Lou.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Lodger,

    Are you saying Kennedy would have still refused the appeal if it was a UUP minister?

    Had he sanctioned the appeal and Murphy lost it, Murphy looks twice as bad and Kennedy can’t be accused of anything.

    Kennedy’s stupidity has put the lens on him.

  • The Lodger

    RoC,

    Had Murphy had his appeal and lost he would have looked twice as bad and the tax payer would have been twice as out of pocket. Kennedy did both a huge favour.

  • Republic of Connaught

    You didn’t answer the very simple question: would Kennedy have sanctioned the appeal if it was a UUP minister accused?

  • wild turkey

    Subject: Message to mope.

    “would Kennedy have sanctioned the appeal if it was a UUP minister accused?”

    Answer: Nope

  • Republic of Connaught

    Wildturkey,

    Absolute bullshit at best, and a blatant lie at worst.

    Why?

    NO PARTY making that decision – UUP, Sinn Fein, DUP or SDLP – would have allowed one of their own to be accused of sectarian decison making and not taken up the right of appeal if the individual denied the charge.

    Kennedy and the UUP acted in a party political interest.

  • wild turkey

    RoC

    making the obvious inference that you are not a spokesperson or supporter of UUP,DUP or SDLP (well we do have something in common) then i assume that

    Sinn Fein – would NOT have allowed one of their own to be accused of sectarian decison making.

    so the bottom line is.

    Party political self-interest? OK
    Party political interest? Not OK

    gotcha.

    Go raibh maith agat

  • The Lodger

    “You didn’t answer the very simple question: would Kennedy have sanctioned the appeal if it was a UUP minister accused?”

    RoC,

    I would think that decision would rest largely on whether he had any chance of winning the appeal. In a case based on this evidence no.

  • tacapall

    “Kennedy and the UUP acted in a party political interest”

    Well of course he did ROC he’s a Unionist and Conor Murphy is a nationalist, do you seriously expect him to act any differently. The lifeblood of any Unionist party, is looking more traditional, than the other Unionist party it becomes quite evident when some perceived concession is given to nationalism.

  • son of sam

    Garibaldy
    Interesting suggestion that Sinn Fein may be speaking with forked tongue on any given issue and especially Sean Quinn.What a surprise?! Pope still Catholic etc.No doubt in the Conor Murphy case they have their own legal eagles who have dissected the tribunal judgement .Presumably if they felt there were any individual right of appeal they would have pursued it.After all the party surely have the resources!

  • Republic of Connaught

    Wildturkey,

    Party political interest shouldn’t be tolerated in cases like this. End of story. It should be the same for everyone across the board.

    Either Stormont ministers of all parties should be allowed an appeal in these circumstances if they plead innocence or they shouldn’t.

    Political rivals should not get to decide on individual cases in the way Kennedy has in this case.

  • http://diaryarticles.blogspot.com/ articles

    I’m not so sure that Conor Murphy should get too exercised. Albeit the tribunal effectively branded him sectarian, no less a person than the international statesman and peacemaker, the man often self referenced in the same sentence as Nelson Mandela, the future Nobel peace prize winner, the deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness said he didn’t have a sectarian bone in him. Just take the hit Conor and save the taxpayer shed loads of money.

  • sonofstrongbow

    If only Murphy hadn’t made his sectarian ” individual case” decision in the first place then an appeal of the Tribunal’s (no doubt a gather up of UUP sectarianistas coralled together to ‘get’ a Shinner scalp) wouldn’t be needed.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Articles,

    That’s indicative of the bizarre mentality of Stormont and NI in general.

    The guy should get his appeal.

    And if he fails his appeal he should be SUSPENDED from Stormont for a prolonged period of time. A year at least. If a minister is found guilty of sectartian decision making he should clearly be punished.

  • tacapall

    Its a win win though for both sides now in that Unionism shows up Sinn Fein for what they really are and Sinn Fein gets to deny it and point to the unjustness of not being able to appeal.

  • Reader

    tacapall: Well of course he did ROC he’s a Unionist and Conor Murphy is a nationalist, do you seriously expect him to act any differently.
    How would you expect a nationalist party to act with the boot on the other foot? Actually, if it comes to that, how would you expect the SDLP to act with a Shinner on the ropes?
    Is there a party you think could safely be trusted with (a) hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money or (b) The reputation of a senior member of another party? (Examinees must choose at most one option…)

  • tacapall

    Reader I wouldn’t expect nationalists to act any different and when it comes to the SDLP well in the interests of nationalism it will act just like Unionism has and assert whatever power they have to use that in the interests of nationalism.

    No party in the six counties could be safely trusted with (b)

  • wild turkey

    “Either Stormont ministers of all parties should be allowed an appeal in these circumstances if they plead innocence or they shouldn’t. ”

    RoC. appeals should be made on the likliehood of success and/or if there is a perceived flaw with the original judgement which may justify an appeal.

    appeals largely for the sake of ministerial vanity, regardless of political party?

    i’d wipe my ass with the relevant appeals papers and, being polite and a believer in justice, hand them back to said minister.

  • Mister_Joe

    Expect a request for a Judicial Review, also to be funded by the idiots (us, that is).

  • Republic of Connaught

    Wild turkey,

    If, as Reader and Tacapall believe above, that the different Stormont parties simply can’t be trusted to act objectively in these matters, it should be taken out of their hands completely.

  • son of sam

    Can some of the legal fraternity amongst us, clarify whether a Judicial Review application is a feasible option in a case such as this?If it is,why should the taxpayer be expected to fund a party political exercise?

  • Jack2

    Pete Baker nails it with the Brian Feeney quote
    “We’re told Murphy’s behaviour will cost you well over a quarter of a million in compensation and costs. He walks away scot-free, careless of the damage he has inflicted”

    Pity he couldnt be charged with a criminal offense. Walking away irks me….

  • wild turkey

    “Can some of the legal fraternity amongst us, clarify whether a Judicial Review application is a feasible option in a case such as this?If it is,why should the taxpayer be expected to fund a party political exercise?”

    SoS. good point…. and to paraphrase

    If Murphy was still the current minister, can some of the legal fraternity amongst us, clarify whether the minister could order an appeal, or would departmental lawyers be under an obligation to consider the points upon which an appeal could be based and its subsequent likliehood of success……

    “Pity he couldnt be charged with a criminal offense. Walking away irks me….”

    Jack2. that sound you may hear in the background is the victimhood engine cranking into overdrive…

    “but the fools, the fools, they left our cases unappealed”

  • Lionel Hutz

    RoC,

    Conor Murphy may well have felt compelled to appeal the decision if he was still at the helm – because to do otherwise would have been to accept the findings. So I would imagine that Danny Kennedy would have done likewise if it was a UUP member. However, it would have blown up spectacularly in my humble if educated opinion in these matters.

    To put it bluntly, The TribunalI decision was based on the belief that Murphy was lying. its very hard to appeal a Tribunals findings of fact and I see no misdirection on the law. The tribunal found that the statistical evidence of bias in favour of Catholics couple with Murphy appointing the only catholic from an unranked list of seven candidates was enough to infer that there was discrimination – IF there was no reasonable explanation for the actions. There is no misdirection on the law there. The critical finding of fact was that the Tribunal didn’t believe his explanations and didn’t believe him. Where are the grounds of appeal. The Court of Appeal will be slow to overturn such a finding especially as it would not have had the benefit of hearing oral evidence, and the Court of Appeal is only supposed to consider a mistake in law. Anyway.

    So the appeal would have been lost and had Sinn Fein appealed it would have looked doubly bad.

    As it is, this is the best outcome for Sinn Fein. No appeal and they can play the victim. They are lucky they had that reshuffle – or perhaps they are just that cute

  • Mick Fealty

    There’s enough real news here not to have to go and make up other pretend news in aid of a sense of creating a false balance…

    All we can judge here is the real world example of the SF minister (and the colleagues who think it is okay to discriminate against Prods)…

  • Lionel Hutz

    SoS,

    You can apply for judicial review of a Tribunals decision. You may do so if you contend that the decision was so unreasonable that no reasonable authority in such a position would have arrived at that decision. I’m not sure however, whether Conor Murphy would have had sufficient standing to make such an application because the case was not brought against him personally. All will be available to him personally in the other case in December should he lose that one as he is named as a respondent in a personal capacity.

    WildTurkey, it would seem to methat your question is a political one more than a legal one. It’s the department as an entity that was the respondent and that has the right of appeal. As head of the department he would have had the final say-so I suppose. Whether he would have been constrained by the ministerial code – I dunno

  • Republic of Connaught

    Lionel,

    I agree; I think he would have lost the appeal and would have had no where to hide and should have been suspended from Stormont.

    But it’s a separate issue whether a UUP polictician should have been given the power to make a decision not to appeal when it’s a Sinn Fein minister accused. I’d say the same thing if the roles were reversed.

  • HeinzGuderian

    RoC

    You can ‘if’ and ‘but’ and ‘what if’ until the cows come home. As Mick has already pointed out,there is a real issue here,without having to create a false premise to argue the toss over.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Heinz,

    I’ve already stated I think Murphy would have lost the appeal and should have been suspended from Stormont for a year. Is simple English not clear enough for some?

    The point remains, no matter how uncomfortable it seems for some, he didn’t get to appeal because of a UUP minster’s decision. That needs to be looked at, too, if people actually want to see an end to all kinds of biased/sectarian decision making in NI.

  • OneNI

    Murphy is bang to rights however Danny Kennedy made himself look bad on radio

  • http://diaryarticles.blogspot.com/ articles

    All will be available (judicial review) to him personally in the other case in December should he lose that one as he is named as a respondent in a personal capacity.

    Thank you Lionel Hutz , I for one am willing to suspend judgment as to Conor Murphy until the outcome of the December case. Given an undesired outcome he can vindicate himself using his own ((SF’s) Brit. Gov’s) money.

  • wild turkey

    Lionel

    thanks for your useful comment on the possible basis of the department launching an appeal

    “There’s enough real news here ….”
    Mick totally agree. Its getting late, and my sons 12th birthday is Thursday and my daughters is the following day and my rambling may be a distraction in more ways than one…. but a final late nite thought

    much of the reportage posted on slugger does, of necessity, have a limited shelf live. news is a highly perishable product.

    in terms of immediate dogged and determined follow-up to many issues, slugger is a useful and unique resource.
    however, what i am trying to articulate may well beyond the remit of slugger; it is certainly beyond my current level of creative thinking, but is there a way, a method, to meaningfully follow-up and pursue issues that may be salient but are past their initial sell by date?

    the current issue to hand arises from the ongoing NIW saga… but there remains a lot of interesting and unresolved threads. for example, where is, and what is, Paul Priestly doing these days? maybe these considerations are best left to an investigative resource like the Detail… whoever would carry out these retrospective follow-ups would be in serious need of a Tardiw and the concept may be inherently flawed. i dunno.

    if you have the occasion for a quiet relaxing and reflective weekend (ho ho ho), let me know your thoughts?

    Oiche m’haith

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    From the republican hand book:

    Rule 1 the “Big Lie” taken from Hitler’s Mein Kampf and adapted by Joseph Goebbels, another infamous fascist.

    The principle is that when one lies, one should lie BIG, and stick to it. Then keep up the lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

    So in republican speak tell a “BIG LIE” and keep telling it and at some point everyone will believe it.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Goebbels
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Lie

  • Lionel Hutz

    Roc,

    One issue is that it’s the department that loses. So it would have been the decision to appeal that would have been politically motivated and at tax payers expense. The decision not to appeal was good sense.

  • Mister_Joe

    After all the bluff and bluster, it will all be forgotten soon. And, unfortunately, it will do him no harm at all when the next elections come along.

  • Alias

    “It’s disgraceful behaviour by Murphy if it’s true but he was certainly entitled to expect an appeal when his reputation was being tarnished.” – RoC

    He’s not. You can’t appeal a decision of a tribunal on the basis that the public will think less of you as a result of that decision.

    If you could, you could extend the principle to appeal a conviction for racism on the basis that the public don’t think much of racists. If your bizarre appeal was upheld then no court could convict for a racist offence – or, indeed, any other offence likely to damage your reputation among the public.

    This is simply the result of Shinner indoctrination of you: the view that any criticism of a Shinner is invalid and must be immediately declared void. Indeed, the peace process demands it!

    If he doesn’t like being seen as a sectarian bigot then he should stop acting as one. Simples.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Alias: “This is simply the result of Shinner indoctrination of you: the view that any criticism of a Shinner is invalid and must be immediately declared void. Indeed, the peace process demands it!” .

    I’ve never voted Sinn Fein in my life and never will. They are among many other barefaced liars in the north but they are serial liars nonetheless. I just don’t like shameless hypocrisy, which you are becoming an expert at. Your clear hatred of Sinn Fein makes some of your posts absolutely puerile and often completely devoid of objectivity.

    If the roles in this case were reversed and the UUP’s Danny Kennedy was the one who was denied an appeal by the decision of Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy, IT WOULD STILL BE WRONG. A political rival shouldn’t in a position to make that decision on his own in such a sentitive case. That’s the point that some hypocrites want to ignore.

    You’d almost certainly be on here crying foul if Sinn Fein had denied a UUP man the right to appeal in the same scenario. So try some objectivity and you might even enjoy it.

  • Mister_Joe

    The DUP and SF have made themselves a bed and have to lie together in it. Doesn’t matter if a spring pokes out and jabs one of them. No embracing or spooning; might be misunderstood. Not to mention shared fleas. Life sucks, doesn’t it.

  • Alias

    “I’ve never voted Sinn Fein in my life and never will. They are among many other barefaced liars in the north but they are serial liars nonetheless.” – Republic of Connaught

    I’m a little weary, if not wary, of incorrigible Shinner supporters on this site who insist that they would never actually vote for them. Adding in a bit of bile toward them just to make it look like you’re not a Shinner is amateur stuff. One Shinner posted under the moniker of “Moderate Unionist” to further Shinnerism by that black propaganda but the others just pose as ‘neutral’ posters to give the impression of unbiased opinion while supporting the Shinners.

    Journalists who give the official line on NI security matters were allowed, even encouraged, to criticise the state on other issues just as long as they stay on-message for the important messages. If they were accused of being state stooges, they’d just point to the plethora of occasions when they were critical of the state by way of refutation. So these aren’t even new tricks by old Shinner dogs.

    The important message here from the Shinners point of view is that they should not be seen as sectarian. The stooges must stay on-message here. They’re already seen as serial liars, so you can concede that minor message if it helps you gain a bit of credibility for the important message.

    “I just don’t like shameless hypocrisy, which you are becoming an expert at. Your clear hatred of Sinn Fein makes some of your posts absolutely puerile and often completely devoid of objectivity.” – Republic of Connaught

    While I evidently struck a raw nerve with the Shinner indoctrination barb, I’m not interested in your shrill opinions other than to add that I don’t hate the Shinners. I react to them with the same level of revulsion that I would react to a turd in a salad bowl. Whatever that emotion is, it isn’t hate. Contempt? Disgust? I’m ponder further and let you know in due course…

    “If the roles in this case were reversed and the UUP’s Danny Kennedy was the one who was denied an appeal by the decision of Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy, IT WOULD STILL BE WRONG. A political rival shouldn’t in a position to make that decision on his own in such a sentitive case. That’s the point that some hypocrites want to ignore.” – Republic of Connaught

    Sorry, but repeating this nonsense for a second time while ignoring the reason why it is nonsense (as previously pointed out to you) in the hope that it will suddenly become meaningful or relevant isn’t like to work out for you.

    “You’d almost certainly be on here crying foul if Sinn Fein had denied a UUP man the right to appeal in the same scenario. So try some objectivity and you might even enjoy it.” – Republic of Connaught

    You are again conflating a right of appeal, kid, with the basis for an appeal. The former cannot be exercised without the latter.

    Now, do you actually have a valid argument to make here or are you just flailing your orang-utan arms around the forum in the hope that someone will throw you a banana?

  • Republic of Connaught

    “Journalists who give the official line on NI security matters were allowed, even encouraged, to criticise the state on other issues just as long as they stay on-message for the important messages. If they were accused of being state stooges, they’d just point to the plethora of occasions when they were critical of the state by way of refutation. So these aren’t even new tricks by old Shinner dogs”

    Alias, I’ve never thought you a bad fellow and even funny at times but you sound in that post just like your old strange Munster mitty friend spotting ‘covert operatives’ on this site.

    Do you honestly think I care what you think if I actually voted for Sinn Fein? Really? It is a simple and honest fact I never have nor will vote Sinn Fein. Your utter spiel in response to that simple fact just looks weird.

    You yourself often appear as a Jim Allister poster boy with your incessant attacks on northern nationalists, yet I wouldn’t ever believe you have ulterior motives. You just give your opinon, right or wrong. Take this site as it is for the majority of ordinary posters, Alias, and step back from the Robert Ludlum fantasy stuff.

    .

  • Mike the First

    Those posters (hello, Republic of Connacht, hello tacapall) twisting a case of a SF Minister engaging in sectarian discrimination against Protestants into a MOPE about the big bad Unionists – take a bow guys.

    When the Slugger awards come up, can we have a category for this sort of thing? This doesn’t deserve to pass without recognition, it’s truly (if perversely) impressive…

  • Reader

    Republic of Connaught: If, as Reader and Tacapall believe above, that the different Stormont parties simply can’t be trusted to act objectively in these matters, it should be taken out of their hands completely.
    I was fishing for evidence of tribal prejudice on tacapall’s part. To his credit, his clarification suggests he utterly distrusts all parties equally. Whereas I am merely suspicious – equally.

  • tacapall

    “Its a win win though for both sides now in that Unionism shows up Sinn Fein for what they really are”

    Maybe your just a dumb ass Mike who cant read.

  • Mark

    Just listened to Greg Campbell alienate the pink vote on Nolan . I was having breakfast with a few English friends down in Marbella ( Spain AyeyourMa ) . They were amazed and horrified that the biggest Unionist party in Ireland as my friends put it , would hold such views . I wont tell you any of them were gay however my cousin and brother in law are steamers ( again as my cousin puts it ) .

    When I referred to them as your fellow countrymen , they laughed …until they thought about it . The conversation ended soon afterwards . One londoner did comment at the end that with views like the one Campbell held , the English Defence League are on a recruiting drive at the moment and maybe he should give them a call . He was joking of course …

    Now , where´s that factor 37 .

  • Barnshee

    “Just listened to Greg Campbell alienate the pink vote on Nolan”

    The pink vote is what % of the population— 5%?
    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_percent_of_the_world_is_gay

    Probably split evenly Prod/Mick, SF/SDLP/UU/DUP?
    Bear in mind the percentage of people who do not vote and the fairly concrete attitudes of those who do vote and Gregory has very little to gain or lose.

  • Mister_Joe

    Barnshee,

    You’re neglecting to count the “straight” family and friends of those of a homosexual persuasion.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Mike the first,

    It’s noticeable I’m the only person on this thread calling for Murphy to be suspended for a year from Stormont if he failed his appeal. That seems to be totally ignored, for some reason.

    Whether it was Danny Kennedy or an SDLP politician who was in the same position to make the judgement he did on a rival politician’s appeal is simply wrong in my opinion. The big bad Unionists are no better or worse than the Nationalists would be in the same position.

  • Reader

    Republic of Connaught: Whether it was Danny Kennedy or an SDLP politician who was in the same position to make the judgement he did on a rival politician’s appeal is simply wrong in my opinion.
    Murphy has his own decision to make – just like any other employer or employee in the same position. Your out-of-nowhere call for a suspension if he fails an appeal is inconsequential. If suspension is the right thing to do, it should happen *unless* he appeals. The proper sanction would be for him to pay costs if the appeal fails. Any chance the Shinners would still back him then?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Reader,

    The decision should be taken out of Murphy’s hands.

    Suspension should be demanded by the wider public if any elected politician is found guilty of sectarian discrimination. Not allowing him the appeal meant Kennedy gave him a get out.

  • The Lodger

    “Suspension should be demanded by the wider public if any elected politician is found guilty of sectarian discrimination.”

    RoC,

    Er, that is exactly what Murphy was found guilty of.

    How many goes do you think he deserves at it before you believe the facts that were outlined in the Tribunal?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Lodger,

    He deserved the right to appeal in my opinion if he still denied the charge. If the appeal failed he had no excuse to hide behind. Danny Kennedy gave him that excuse, for whatever reasons.

    We need only look at the Justice Ministry in NI and who it had to be given to because, quite simply, none of the four main parties could be trusted with it.

  • The Lodger

    RoC,

    He can have his appeal. We the long suffering tax payer won’t be paying for it. If he, and his party, are so convinced of his innocence then they should have no problem in funding his appeal.

    I don’t know where you get the impression that he is entitled to public funding for an appeal from. Especially one which, given the facts outlined in the Tribunal, he would be very unlikely to win.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Lodger,

    There was an inevitable conflict of interest in Danny Kennedy making that decision, and, if the UUP and the rest admit none of them can be be trusted with the Justice Ministry then they shouldn’t be in a position to deny a person’s appeal in a case like this, either.

  • The Lodger

    RoC,

    No one is denying him right of appeal. They are merely refusing to pay for it.

    Why do you think that someone who has been proven to be engaged in sectarian discrimination should be allowed tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money to appeal?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Lodger,

    You’re missing the point.

    If David Ford was the man who made the decision not to appeal it would not be regarded with the slightest suspicion; that’s why he was given the Justice Ministry. All of the four big parties trusted him more than they trusted each other to make fair and objective decisions.

    I think Murphy would have lost the appeal. What I don’t think is that a UUP minister should have been the person with the power to deny Murphy the appeal. Whether he now pays for an appeal himself doesn’t change that fact.

  • The Lodger

    RoC,

    Er, the minister who was in the position of authority to make the decision was Danny Kennedy. Are you seriously saying that he was not entitled to make that decision because he is a unionist? Sort of the same reason why the other guy wasn’t deemed to be entitled to get the job in the first place.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Lodger,

    Don’t be so quick to turn into a MOPE.

    The point is that neither the UUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP or DUP should have made that decision. If, God forbid, someday Nelson McCausland wants to appeal a sectarian discrimination case, I would find it pretty strange to see a Sinn Fein or indeed UUP MLA in a position to deny him that appeal and not suspect an inevitable conflict of interest.

  • The Lodger

    RoC,

    There was nobody else to make the decision. It is Kennedy’s job. Murphy should be grateful to him because the appeal would have simply made him look worse.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Lodger,

    Whether it made Murphy look worse is neither here nor there. It was a specific sectarian discrimination case and, to avoid even the possibility of a conflict of interest, it should have been passed on to David Ford.

    If it happens to any politican in Stormont in the future they should learn from it.

  • The Lodger

    RoC,

    What on earth does David Ford have to do with it? The argument you are making is that when a republican is caught out discriminating against Protestants the minister responsible should not be allowed to decide whether he gets funding for an appeal, which you believe he is certain to lose, if he happens to be a unionist. Wouldn’t that be discrimination?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Lodger,

    Do you just read what you want to see or can you read what’s actually written?

    The argument is that in any sectarian discrimination case like this – whether it was a Catholic or Protestant charged – none of the big four parties (who can’t be trusted with Justice) should be in a position to decide on an appeal for the individual. They all have a conflict on interest and shouldn’t be trusted with it. Can you read that: all of them, not just Unionists.

    Now I am truly tired of this thread. I hope Conor Murphy gets locked up for good measure. :)

  • The Lodger

    RoC,

    I believe he once was for a more extreme form of discrimination.

  • Mister_Joe

    I can only imagine the furor that would be displayed by SF if the Tribunal had found that a Ministry headed by a DUP, even UUP, Minister had discriminated against a Catholic. There would be no holds barred.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Roc,

    You are completely misunderstanding the mechanics of this. It was the Department that was founded to have discriminated. The fact that it was Mr Murphy doing it is neither here nor there. It’s the department that has to pay the legal fees and the compensation. If they appealed, the would risk massive fees and additionally the other sides legal fees. It’s like if a someone took up a private firm for discrimination against an that person in the course of their employment and the Tribunal found that the manger did indeed discriminate, should the manager be entitled to demand the CEO to appeal a decision and fund that appeal merely to protect their reputation. Absolutely not, it’s entitled to cut its losses.

    If Conor Murphy was so concerned about a potential range, he should have asked to be named separately as a co-Respondent in the case. He would then have had the ability to appeal himself. Ofciurse, he would have opened himself up to personally pay any compensation awarded – so he would never have done that. He hid behind the department and now demands that department to suffer massive financial loss to appeal the decision on his behalf. Ludicrous.

    Finally, you can’t just appeal a finding of fact. You have to find some legal or procedural problem. For instance, if you were convicted of murder, you can’t just simply appeal because the jury thought you were a liar. You have to argue that the were something wrong procedurally or legally – like evidence being withheld or the judge misdirecting the jury on the law. The Court of Appeal would not hear oral evidence, they just hear arguments from the lawyers on the legal point being raised. They would not have the benefit of seeing the witness give evidence. And even if the Court of Appeal, thought there was something wrong – all it would do is order another Tribunal to hear the case again bearing in mind it’s decision.

    Your talking hundreds of thousands of pounds potentially on a folly. The only argument I’ve heard from Sinn Fein against the finding that Murphy lacked credibility, was that he’s a great fella really. That’s akin those idiots backing Sean Quinn the other day, just because he’s one of “us” (GAA and local boy done good). Never mind the findings of fact. Ridiculous.

  • Lionel Hutz

    *any potential damage

    BlackBerry PlayBook has the worst predictive text

  • Mister_Joe

    Being up late and doing a bit of thinking, I have suddenly realized that I have been totally mistaken. The former Minister couldn’t possibly have done anything wrong because he’s one of the GOOD republicans, isn’t he?

  • Barnshee

    “If Conor Murphy was so concerned about a potential range, he should have asked to be named separately as a co-Respondent in the case. He would then have had the ability to appeal himself”

    Mr Lennon slipped up he should have complained against BOTH the Department and the Minister as an individual. That would have open up the opportunity for damages against teh Minister

  • Lionel Hutz

    You wouldn’t have got anything extra. It workedout well for him

  • Barnshee

    “You wouldn’t have got anything extra. It workedout well for him”

    Not the point –Had he included the minister, Conor would have been personally liable and had to cough up himself.– that was the opportunity lost.

  • Mister_Joe

    But how would you collect from someone who earns only the average industrial wage? Such a person would not have any savings, would he?

  • Barnshee

    “But how would you collect from someone who earns only the average industrial wage? Such a person would not have any savings, would he?”

    Simple bankrupcy– and attachment of earnings until the debt is paid (ah those were the days)

  • son of sam

    “The convention as Slugger understands it ,is that such advice is generally circulated under terms of the strictest confidence” Well there’s another convention gone,according to the B B C website just now.Wonder who’s responsible for the leak?!!

  • redhugh78

    Dany Kennedy’s decision is quite frankly a political decision as Conor Murphy rightly asserts.

    All the more obvious given the fact he went against the advice of the Attorney General to appeal the decision which in the words of the Attorney General was ‘”unsatisfactory and ripe for challenge”.

  • mjh

    The Attorney General’s advice http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19116447 is a game changer. It is now definitely in the public interest that this matter should be taken to Appeal.

    If discrimination has been practised, and the facts in the public domain are highly suggestive, in the absence of an Appeal the publication of the Attorney General’s advice will be taken by Sinn Fein as exoneration. They and their supporters will not have to face the truth.

    If discrimination has not been practiced, apart from the unfairness to Murphy, there is the much more important issue that unionists will continue to believe that it has been. And this will add unnecessary poison to politics in NI.

    What we now have is a fudge. On the issue of discrimination, of all things, the public in Northern Ireland must have facts.

    If discrimination has occurred it is worth risking a few hundred thousand pounds to pin down the facts, pin down those responsible and make sure it cannot happen again.

    If discrimination has not occurred, but recruitment procedures in the Department have been deficient these must be corrected.

    If discrimination has not occurred and there is nothing for the Department or other public bodies to learn on improving procedures then let us know that for a fact.

  • son of sam

    It would be interesting to know who requested the Attorney’s opinion and for what reason.Should his antennae not have recognised that he was liable to be drawn into a political dogfight given the apparent relaxed attitude in the Executive to disclosure of “confidential “legal advice.

  • Alias

    Good post, mjh – pretty much definitive.

    It’s regrettable that contents from a letter from the AG giving an opinion that undermines a tribunal were placed into the public domain but the damage to the authority of the tribunal is now done.

    An appeal would now be in the public interest for the reasons you give.

    And while folks are squandering a few hundred thousand of taxpayers’ money, how about an enquiry into who leaked the letter and thereby did the damage?

  • Mister_Joe

    Have to agree too. I don’t have much sympathy for the former Minister but, like everyone, he is entitled to Justice. The leaked letter undermines the current Minister’s opinion.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Alot of skullduggery going here. Kennedy did say that it was at best uncertain. Which is true. Murphy said he had been sitting on the attorney general’s opinion for weeks. Reading the picture in the BBC articles clear that the AGE wasonly asked on the 18th July. By whom?

  • Lionel Hutz

    If I were john Larkin, I’d resign

  • son of sam

    Lionel Hutz
    What are the chances of John Larkin resigning?Pretty low,I would have thought.Unless he’s going to ascend to the High Court!!

  • Lionel Hutz

    Unlikely I would have thought. But who would want to be Attorney General when your advice will be leaked like this.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Oh dear, the shinners are at in again:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-19638161

    This time O’Dowd under the spotlight

  • The Lodger

    Does anyone have any details on the O’Dowd appointments? Does this refer to him forcing pro Sinners onto the boards of grammar schools?