Monday 17 December 2018

Irish Times apologises to Sgt Maurice McCabe under settlement of defamation proceedings

Sergeant Maurice McCabe. Photo: Damien Eagers
Sergeant Maurice McCabe. Photo: Damien Eagers

Tim Healy

The Irish Times has apologised before the High Court to Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe under a settlement of defamation proceedings.

The apology also stated the newspaper had made "appropriate amends" to Sgt McCabe, who had sued over an article published in the newspaper on February 20th 2017.

Michael McDowell and Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle, Dublin. Photos: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Michael McDowell and Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle, Dublin. Photos: Gareth Chaney/Collins

On Friday, Michael McDowell SC, with Paul O’Higgins SC, instructed by Sean Costello solicitor, for Sgt McCabe, who was not in court, told Mr Justice Bernard Barton the matter had settled.

Counsel said that no order was required, except one for taxation of the plaintiff’s costs, on the basis of an apology being read by Cian Ferriter SC, with Ray Ryan BL, instructed by Hayes Solicitors, for the Irish Times.

Mr Ferriter then read the apology.

It stated:  “On the 20th February 2017, the Irish Times published an article in its print edition headed: ‘Woman behind alleged complaint about McCabe wants her day before inquiry’ and, in its online edition headed: ‘When Can I Get on With the Rest of my Life? – Woman at the centre of the McCabe case’.”

Sgt Maurice McCabe
Sgt Maurice McCabe

It continued: “The Director of Public Prosecutions determined, after a careful and professional investigation, that no offence of any kind had been disclosed against Sgt McCabe and that there was no basis in fact or in law for any prosecution. Contrary to what was suggested in the articles, the Director of Public Prosecutions did not base his direction on ‘insufficient evidence’. “

The apology stated: “The Irish Times fully accepts the DPP’s determination and it was never intended for the article to suggest otherwise. The Irish Times wishes to apologise to Sgt. Maurice McCabe and his wife and family for the great hurt and damage caused to them by the publication of this article, hand has made appropriate amends to Sgt. McCabe.”

The judge agreed to make the order sought.

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