The former chairman of Independent News & Media, Leslie Buckley, has broken his silence over an alleged data breach at the newspaper publisher.

In a statement this afternoon, Mr Buckley said he was appalled at the widespread sharing of court documents from the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement.

Earlier this week details emerged of an alleged data breach at INM in an affidavit from the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Ian Drennan.

It alleged personal data related to 19 individuals, including journalists, may have been accessed.

Mr Buckley said the documents contained "the most serious and damaging of allegations relating to my tenure of INM".

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He added that he believed due process and fair procedure had been "wholly disregarded in this instance".

He said he had consistently maintained a position of not commenting in the midst of an ongoing statutory process but on this occasion he was compelled to do so.

He said he would continue to fully co-operate with the ODCE investigation.

Mr Buckley added he would "robustly defend my position against each and every allegation".

Meanwhile, INM Chief Executive Michael Doorly said that he had only found out about the situation last Friday week when the ODCE informed him that they would be seeking to appoint inspectors to review the affairs of INM.

Mr Doorly said that he could not give assurances to his staff now that their information had not been compromised, but said that the company was "working towards a situation" where they would be able to do that.

He said there was a lot of speculation about the situation surrounding the alleged data breach and court documents that had been reported on were not supposed to be in the public domain.

Mr Doorly said it had been "a difficult week" but the management was concentrating on the business and its 815 employees.