Kennedy “ignored legal advice” – Conor Murphy

August 14, 2012

By Christine Keighery

Sinn Fein’s Conor Murphy has responded to reports that Danny Kennedy went against top legal advice to come to his decision not to appeal the findings of an employment tribunal which criticised the Department of Regional Development, and branded Mr Murphy “sectarian” in overlooking Protestant Alan Lennon in favour of appointing a catholic to a top post in NI Water.

Murphy, who headed the DRD at the time the appointment was made, has called for an explanation from Regional Development Minister, Danny Kennedy as to why he “ignored legal advice” from Northern Ireland’s top lawyer, Attorney General, John Larkin, who had expressed his firm view that the tribunal’s ruling should be appealed.

The Sinn Fein MP, who had already accused Mr Kennedy of scoring “cheap political points” with his decision not to appeal, said last week,

“I have always believed that the findings of the tribunal in this case are deeply flawed.

“It has now emerged that various legal opinions sought by the department, including one from the attorney general, backed this view and urged the minister to appeal.

He added, “Danny Kennedy now needs to make an urgent public statement explaining the rationale for his decision given the legal opinion that is now in the public domain.”

Mr Kennedy had previously defended his decision, insisting that an appeal would incur “significant costs” and would not be in the public’s interest.