EU Commissioner Phil Hogan gets damages and apology over Vincent Browne “racism” comments
EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has secured damages and apologies from two media outlets over claims he had engaged in racist and prejudicial behaviour, the High Court has heard.
It came following comments by broadcaster Vincent Browne in 2013 and articles published in the Irish Daily Mail during 2012.
Mr Hogan was present in court as Mr Justice Colm MacEochaidh was told actions the former Environment Minister had taken against both media outlets had been settled on terms agreed between the sides and could be struck out with no order.
Apologies from TV3 and Associated Newspapers, the publishers of the Irish Daily Mail, were then read to the court.
The TV3 apology said that during the course of a broadcast on the Tonight with Vincent Browne show on May 20,2013, comments were made by Mr Browne “that Mr Hogan engaged in racist behavior and suggested he was prejudiced against the Travelling community and intervened with the local authority about the allocation of housing for Travellers”.
Counsel for TV3 said: “We accept these comments were untrue and unwarranted and defamatory of Mr Hogan’s reputation.
“TV3 takes this opportunity to publicly apologise to Mr Hogan for the damage caused to his reputation.”
The apology read on behalf of Associated Newspapers said articles published on two dates in September 2012 in the Irish Daily Mail “inferred that Mr Hogan was prejudiced against the Travelling community and that he had intervened with a local authority in relation to housing accommodation for Travellers.”
Counsel for Associated Newspapers said: “We accept that these articles were unfair, misleading and damaging.
“The publisher of the Irish Daily Mail takes this opportunity to publicly withdraw these allegation and apologise for the damage caused to Mr Hogan.”
The terms of the settlements with Mr Hogan were not disclosed.
He initiated legal proceedings against both media outlets in 2013.
In a statement issued afterwards, Mr Hogan said he was pleased to have been “vindicated” by the apologies.
“Mr Hogan sincerely hopes he can continue to discharge his duties without further wrongful and damaging media comment on this matter”, the statement said.