Saturday 25 May 2019

Robinson to sue Mick Wallace over tweet

First Minister Peter Robinson
First Minister Peter Robinson
Mick Wallace

Liam Clarke

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has put Mick Wallace on notice that he intends to sue him over comments he posted on Twitter.

Lawyers for Mr Robinson wrote to the Independent TD this week over the comments he posted earlier this year.

Last night both libel lawyer Paul Tweed, who is representing Mr Robinson, and a DUP spokesman confirmed that the action was being prepared in case Mr Wallace did not settle.

Mr Tweed said: "I can confirm that Mick Wallace has been placed under notice as a result of a highly defamatory tweet. If we do not get a satisfactory response action will follow."

Asked where he might sue, the lawyer said: "It could be Belfast, Dublin or both. We are considering the best forum". He refused to discuss the case further, citing confidentiality.

But Mr Tweed's letter claimed that Mr Wallace had made "an extremely serious, false and defamatory allegation" in a tweet.

It went on to allege that Mr Wallace's tweet was "clearly made for your own self publicity rather in support of your claim to be acting in the public interest".


Mr Wallace hit the headlines this year when he used parliamentary privilege to make allegations about the sale of Nama assets in Northern Ireland.

The claims have led to police and parliamentary probes on both sides of the border.

Mr Tweed acts for several of those involved in the Nama dispute including Frank Cushnahan, the former banker and renowned deal maker.

There are currently inquiries going on in both the Dáil and the Assembly following Mr Wallace's claims.

Northern Ireland properties worth £4.5bn were sold to Cerberus Capital Management in April last year.

Codenamed "Operation Eagle" it was Nama's biggest land sale to date.

Nama had originally acquired the properties, which include the Lanyon Plaza, for a rumoured £1bn.

Mr Robinson has always agreed that he had talks with those behind the deal, including former US vice president Dan Quayle, and that he welcomed it.

However, he stated that he was acting in the interests of Northern Ireland, not personal gain.

"For some time I have made clear the danger to the local economy of leaving valuable assets undeveloped and the threat that these posed to otherwise profitable businesses, he said at the time.

"I believe that this deal can be of real benefit to our economy".

He also praised the authorities in the Republic for the way the deal was handled.

Irish Independent

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