Sunday 24 March 2019

McClean awarded damages over 'Provo' slur

Ireland star: James McClean is to receive damages for being called a ‘super Provo’ by a UUP councillor. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland star: James McClean is to receive damages for being called a ‘super Provo’ by a UUP councillor. Photo: Sportsfile

Alan Erwin

Soccer star James McClean is to receive damages from a councillor who falsely referred to him as a "super Provo", the High Court in Belfast has heard.

Ulster Unionist Party representative Chris McGimpsey has also issued an unreserved apology for unfounded comments he said were made "in the heat of the moment" on a radio programme.

A further hearing may now be required to determine the level of compensation to be paid to the Republic of Ireland and Stoke City winger.

McClean (29) issued defamation proceedings following the UUP councillor's appearance on BBC Radio Ulster's 'Nolan Show' in November last year.

The Derry-born player's lawyers told the court the remarks were then repeated and became the focus of commentary on social media. As part of steps to resolve the legal action, a barrister for Mr McGimpsey yesterday read out a statement in court.

David Dunlop said: "On November 9, 2018, Christopher McGimpsey made a statement in the course of a debate on the 'Stephen Nolan Show' in which he referred to James McClean as being a 'super Provo'.

"Mr McGimpsey did not intend to communicate that there was any affiliation between Mr McClean and the Provisional [IRA]."

He continued: "Mr McGimpsey made this statement in the heat of the moment and did so without taking adequate care to consider the implications of those words.

"He accepts that the statement was false and completely inaccurate."

Mr Justice Maguire was told the level of damages remains to be established.

Irish Independent

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