Declan Gormley launches multiple legal actions…

JUst when you thought it had gone away… Northern Ireland Water comes back. Declan Gormley, having waited for due process to recognise the shoddy manner in which he was dealt. He’s now speaking on Nolan. For clarity, here’s the presser:

Former non-executive Director Declan Gormley is threatening new legal action against Minister Murphy and the DRD. Mr. Gormley has notified all of the relevant parties that he will proceed with misfeasance and defamation proceedings unless he receives a retraction and apology for his dismissal from NI Water.

His lawyer has also written to Minister Murphy seeking a similar resolution to the case.
He has now instructed Belfast lawyers Carson McDowell to act on his behalf.

Declan Gormley has said:

“I would confirm that I have put the relevant parties, including Minister Murphy, on notice of my intention to proceed with defamation and misfeasance proceedings which arise out of totally unfounded allegations attributed to me and which resulted in my unfounded dismissal from my post as non-executive Board member of NI Water.”

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  • Pigeon Toes

    Mr Gormley is undertaking the course of action which I’m certain others would, if they had the money.

    I wish him the very best of luck.

  • pippakin

    He is taking on people who think rules don’t apply to them. It will be a big task and I hope he gets all he needs to succeed with it.

  • Pigeon Toes

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-13154774

    “Mr Gormley was one of three board members who were dismissed along with the company chairman Chris Mellor by the regional development minister following an independent report.

    The report said there had been a “serious breakdown in the governance and control framework” of the company.”

    Compare and contrast with

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/local/axed_niw_director_in_legal_threat_to_murphy_1_2613387

    “In February a detailed report by the assembly’s Public Accounts Committee discredited the process which Mr Murphy’s department used to justify sacking all but one of the utility’s non-executive directors.

    It found that sections of the ‘independent review’ commissioned by Mr Murphy’s department and the basis for the directors’ sacking had in fact been redrafted by his top official.

    It said that many of the procurement problems blamed on the directors were the department’s fault”

    Why no mention of the PAC report within the BBC item?

  • William Markfelt

    I wish Mr. Gormley every success and can only echo what Pigeon Toes and Pippakin have already said. There certainly are others who, if they had the money, would take the same course of action as Mr. Gormley apparently plans to take. There is an entire raft of government agencies out there who have behaved in a shabby manner for years, and for whom the likes of PAC and the NIAO have been a source of problems, not solutions. Not that either care.

  • granni trixie

    I confess I have no deep understanding of the issues in particular what was Mr Gormley’s role and responsibility in order to assess if he was at fault. (bearing in mind that ignorance is usually no defence).

    It seems to me that this man had the choice of either ‘draw a line’ under his dismissal – things happen and people recover. Or one can be so affronted at the impact on ones reputation that one feels that,whatever the risks (financial,reputational etc) one must press ahead to put ones grievance in the public domain again.

    Just hope he has a good case. In doing, so he is also resurrecting the fiasco which Connor Murphy presided over at just the worst possible time (true, wont matter to loyal(ist) SF supporters). Personally, I hope the story also leads to a re-examination of how people were appointed to the Board in the first place, includng SF would-be Councillor, Mairtin OMuilleoir).

  • William Markfelt

    The O’Muilleoir connection is irrelevant to Gormley’s case, Granni, so don’t hold your breath on that element of it. It will instead focus on the manner in which he was sacked, and the lies piled on lies that occurred thereafter to justify the sackings. Those sackings probably weren’t ‘illegal’, in the sense that there probably was a right not to renew a contract (leavin aside the fact that the sacked board were praised by Murphy for their great work in the months in advance of the sackings), but there’s a morality issue.

  • Pigeon Toes

    Mr Gormley is suing for misfeasance and defamation, not unfair dismissal.
    “It seems to me that this man had the choice of either ‘draw a line’ under his dismissal – things happen and people recover. Or one can be so affronted at the impact on ones reputation that one feels that,whatever the risks (financial,reputational etc) one must press ahead to put ones grievance in the public domain again”

    Given the public manner that his dismissal was carried out because of what was a flawed and corrupt process, do you not think that Mr Gormley is right in pursuing that his reputation and honour be restored?

    Indeed had Mr Gormley not so doggedly pursued this, Murphy, Priestly and MacKenzie would *still* have been congratulated for a job well done.

  • Cynic2

    It will be hard for the Department to defend its actions when many of the single tender actions were led under the direct management of the department before NIW was created.

    Furthermore the recent appointments of the NIW Investigators was a single tender action. And did anyone see an open competition for the appointment of the inquiry team into the Police Ombudsman allegations?

    And who will the Department rely on to hep refute the defamatory allegations? Paul Priestly?

    Expect a rearguard action until the middle of the summer when a quiet announcement of an apology covered by a large cheque to the Director(s) and a confidentiality agreement. Sure its only (pubic) money!

  • Jo

    “The report said there had been a “serious breakdown in the governance and control framework” of the company.”

    Note: “the company” not the Water Service. The responsibility for overseeing governance arrangements in “the company”?

    The DRD Shareholder Unit, headed by Gary Fair.

    For the time being.

    BTW, looking at the lovely weather outside, whatever happened to Paul Priestly?

    £10,000 a month to sit in the sunshine?

    For how many months?

  • Pigeon Toes
  • William Markfelt

    ‘confidentiality clauses are now routine at the public body, in an attempt to conceal details which may embarrass public servants or their political masters’

    Yes. Public bodies are good at concealing details which may embarrass them, up to and including the destruction of evidence and telling lies.

    NIAO (amongst others) tell them, and PAC gobble them up.

  • Pigeon Toes

    William,
    From some of the exchanges I’ve seen it’s the NIAO who determine what goes to PAC after discussion with the department involved.

    So there exists a nonsense of members of the public writing to PAC with “evidence” or “allegations” who then refer to NIAO, who then determine (after discussion with the department?) that there is “nothing to see here”.

    So lethargy of the whole fucking corrupt merry-go-round sets in, Job

  • Pigeon Toes

    So lethargy of the whole fucking corrupt merry-go-round sets in.

    Job Done far as they are concerned….

    I note that Mr Gormley thought that by bringing the matter to the attention of MLAs etc, he thought the matter would be resolved.

    Though as always, that is not the case, and he must bring legal proceedings in the hope of justice (though I might refer him to quite a few *odd* judgments of late where DRD are implicated by association).

    Mind you, he brought about about Mr Priestly’s suspension.

    Where is that Shortridge report?

  • “It found that the review team had been unable to fulfil its terms of reference because of the “undue haste” with which Mr Priestly insisted the review be completed, a haste which the PAC noted was “completely out of character for the Northern Ireland Civil Service”. .. Sam McBride

    Was it also completely out of character for Paul Priestly? His performance before the PAC on July 1, 2010, didn’t suggest to me that he would be likely to act in haste – unless pushed. There were various references to ‘pushing back’ i.e. not being paid much heed to. Two characters in the NI Water fiasco with the potential for getting things done were Conor Murphy and Paul Priestly. Other players appeared to defer to them when changes were afoot.

  • “It found that the review team had been unable to fulfil its terms of reference because of the “undue haste” with which Mr Priestly insisted the review be completed, a haste which the PAC noted was “completely out of character for the Northern Ireland Civil Service”. .. Sam McBride

    Was it also completely out of character for Paul Priestly? His performance before the PAC on July 1, 2010, didn’t suggest to me that he would be likely to act in haste – unless pushed. There were various references to ‘pushing back’ i.e. not being paid much heed to. Two characters in the NI Water fiasco with the potential for getting things done were Conor Murphy and Paul Priestly. Other players appeared to defer to them when changes were afoot.

  • Apologies for the 10:17 blunder. Perhaps someone can strike it and then this out.

  • Declan Gormley is back in the news; he has changed solicitors from Carson McDowell to John McKee and Company:

    The other two assembly members he is to sue are Willie Clarke and Cahal Boylan.

    It is understood the claim against Mr Clarke and Mr Boylan relates to comments written in an article and press release.

    A separate writ against the Department for Regional Development, in which Mr Murphy, is named involves unfair dismissal and defamation.BBC source

  • Drumlins Rock

    This will be an interesting court case, I hope Declan has a good team to do a bit of digging and get a few answers on the stand. I will probably further delay if not derail any hope of Murphy returning to the front bench. A quick review of where the whole situation is at present would be good, any chance Mick? 🙂

  • Pigeon Toes

    Hmmm, BBC once again failing to pick up on the fact that Mr Gormley was sacked on the back of a very controversial “independent” report “jointly commissioned by NI Water’s chief executive, Laurence MacKenzie, and the permanent secretary of the Department of Regional Development.”http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8563672.stm

    Should the BBC item not state that “Mr Gormley and others at NI Water were *allegedly* sacked over the way contracts were awarded at the company?”