Former NI minister excused from giving evidence at inquiry on medical grounds

Former finance minister Conor Murphy has been excused from giving evidence at a public hearing of the Covid-19 inquiry on medical grounds.

It emerged at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry last week that Mr Murphy would not attend as scheduled due to medical advice to rest.

Later in the week, it was announced that Mr Murphy was standing aside as Economy Minister on medical grounds.

Stormont Assembly
Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O’Neill, left, said Conor Murphy, right, would be replaced as Economy Minister on an interim basis (Brian Lawless/PA)

On Tuesday, lead counsel to the inquiry Clair Dobbins KC said they had been informed that Mr Murphy had “undergone further medical treatment and that he’s been advised that he should rest for two weeks, pending further advice”.

“We would respectfully request that his witness statement is published on the inquiry website after this hearing has concluded,” Ms Dobbins said, adding that they would later consider whether they would need to hear from Mr Murphy “at a later date”.

Inquiry chair Baroness Hallett said she was content to adopt that course of action.

Coronavirus – Tue Mar 30, 2021
The inquiry is due to hear from former Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable Alan Todd (Liam McBurney/PA) 

Meanwhile, Ms Dobbin said they were expecting former Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable Alan Todd to give evidence to the inquiry on Wednesday.

“It was always intended that he give evidence but he was missed for the timetable for tomorrow. I think that has been rectified on the public timetable that is published on the website,” she said.

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