Case settled as Lucinda Creighton says sorry for 'cute hoor' remark
LUCINDA Creighton has apologised to property developer Michael O’Flynn as she settled a High Court defamation case over a speech she made two years ago.
Mr O'Flynn had brought the action against Ms Creighton, who is Minister for European Affairs, over her comments at a summer school in 2010 when she was a Fine Gael backbencher.
Today, Declan Doyle, counsel for Mr O'Flynn, told Mr Justice Eamonn deValera the case had been settled overnight.
The court heard she apologised to him and his family for any hurt and distress caused by comments she made about him. She had also agreed to pay part of his costs.
Mr O'Flynn, from Cork, claimed those comments arose out of a speech in which she said, among other things, that there can be no room in FG for "cute-hoor politics".
She also said FG in government must be "much more than Fianna Fail lite" and cannot condemn FF for entertaining developers in the Galway Races tent while on the other hand extending the "biscuit tin for contributions from high-profile developers who are beholden to NAMA".
Arising out of that speech to the MacGill Summer School, she gave an interview to RTE Radio in which she expressed unhappiness that Mr O'Flynn had financially supported an FG fundraising golf classic a few days earlier in the K Club at a time when he was one of the top ten indebted developers to NAMA.
Mr O'Flynn said she caused those defamatory words to be published which meant, among other things, he was not upstanding, that Irish life had been tainted by him, that he was responsible for low standards in public office and that he had received large sums of money from Irish taxpayers through the NAMA process.
Ms Creighton denied the words were defamatory and were statements of an opinion honestly held. She relied on the defence of fair and reasonable publication and denied Mr O'Flynn's reputation has been damaged or that he has been brought into odium, ridicule or contempt as a result.
The case opened on Tuesday before a jury of seven men and five women and the court heard evidence from Mr O'Flynn.
Today, the court heard a statement was to be read out by Paul O'Higgins, on behalf of Ms Creighton, as part of the settlement.
In it, she said she was happy to confirm Mr O'Flynn is an "upstanding developer and person who operates his business to the highest standards.
"He has not done any wrong and any suggestion to the contrary was not intended by me".
She apologised and agreed to pay a contribution towards Mr O'Flynn's legal costs.
Mr O'Flynn said in a statement afterwards he was happy the damage caused to his reputation by her speech and subsequent interview has been recognised by the court proceedings.
It was regrettable the case had to be brought but he was delighted to have received an apology in open court.