Wednesday 21 February 2018

Hogan gets apologies and over €100,000 for false claims of racism

Phil Hogan: ‘vindicated’. Pic: Collins Courts
Phil Hogan: ‘vindicated’. Pic: Collins Courts
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has received apologies and damages, believed to total over €100,000, from two media outlets over claims that he engaged in racist and prejudicial behaviour.

This follows comments by broadcaster Vincent Browne in 2013 and articles published in the 'Irish Daily Mail' during 2012.

Mr Hogan was present in the High Court yesterday as Mr Justice Colm Mac Eochaidh was told that 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 behaviour 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 allegations and apologise for the damage caused to Mr Hogan."

The terms of the settlements were not disclosed, but a source close to Mr Hogan indicated that the total sum involved was in excess of €100,000.

The commissioner initiated legal proceedings against both media outlets in 2013.

In a statement, Mr Hogan said that he was pleased to have been "vindicated" by the apologies.

It added: "Mr Hogan sincerely hopes he can continue to discharge his duties without further wrongful and damaging media comment on this matter."

Irish Independent

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