SDLP in red-faced climb-down in McQuillan libel case…

THERE was major embarrassment for the SDLP on Friday after it expressed regret over an election advertisement which led to a former PSNI assistant chief constable suing the party for libel. Alan McQuillan claimed that the advert linked him to collusion during his service with the RUC. The ad also stated that the SDLP had ensured Sir Hugh Orde was appointed chief constable and “not a policeman from the old RUC order”. The SDLP’s legal representative said the party “regretted any unintentional distress and embarrassment” and paid McQuillan’s legal costs – a far cry from the somewhat arrogant approach the party had previously employed before this total climb-down, as predicted by our Chris.

  • Outsider

    Your reports mentions that the SDLP paid McQuillans legal fees did they have any compensation to pay him as well?

  • ulsterexile

    funny how it always takes “being sued” before any organisation expresses regret anymore. Maybe this tactic needs to be employed to greater effect in Northern Irish Politics!

  • J Kelly

    What was their slogan STRONGER…weaker it looks like now.

    Durkan has lost the SDLP votes, seats members now money and offered Fianna Fail their soul

  • nineteensixtyseven

    The SDLP haven’t offered Fianna Fail a thing, stop spreading your nonsense.

  • URQUHART

    Outsider: “Your reports mentions that the SDLP paid McQuillans legal fees did they have any compensation to pay him as well?”

    I wouldn’t have thought so Outsider – there was never any suggestion that McQuillan was who the Stoops were talking about until he announced he was offended by it.

    It’s worth remembering the context at the time. Everyone was having a fair old go at the cops following O’Loan’s report and there were growing rumours that the full story of what some of those who were shouting the loudest got up to during the dark days was about to emerge.

    Then, hey presto, this side show erupts, with a prominent RUC man being seen to get the boot into the SDLP. On cue, the entire media forgets about any talk of old Special Branchers breaking cover. It was as obvious as the nose on your face, but that didn’t stop the News LEtter running it on the front page day after day.

    Then, 8 short months later, the SDLP repeat the statement they made at the time (that the ad had nothing to do with McQuillan), pay legal fees that should never have been incurred and it quietly fades away.

  • Lurker

    What shocked me was that Durkan hadn’t the wit to swallow his pride after the settlement but went on radio claiming there was really nothing to it, that he had been happy just to repeat the real meaning of the printed words for McQuillan, as he’d explained them when he first complained. This amounted to conceding the point to McQuillan and then withdrawing it.

    If I’d been in McQuillan’s position I’d have kicked Durkan back into court and trounced him again.

  • DC

    Where the SDLP went wrong here is that they didn’t present their beliefs at Westminster under parliamentary privilege.

    Use PP next time you feel like boasting and require impunity.