Monday 21 October 2019

McClean gets £63,000 payout from politician for 'Provo' slur

Stoke City and Ireland winger James McClean got apology. Picture: Sportsfile
Stoke City and Ireland winger James McClean got apology. Picture: Sportsfile

Alan Erwin

Footballer James McClean has been awarded £63,000 (€71,000) damages against a former Belfast councillor who falsely branded him a "super Provo".

The settlement at the High Court in Belfast covers damages and the Stoke City and Republic of Ireland player's legal costs.

Chris McGimpsey, a former Ulster Unionist Party representative on Belfast City Council, will make the payment in two instalments, the court heard.

He has already issued an unreserved apology for unfounded comments which he said were made "in the heat of the moment" during a radio debate last year.

Mr McClean (30) sued following the former councillor's appearance on BBC Radio Ulster's 'Nolan Show' in November 2018.

The court heard previously that the remarks were then repeated and became the focus of commentary on social media.

A statement was read out on Mr McGimpsey's behalf at that stage, setting out how he had referred to the Derry-born winger as being a "super Provo".

It stressed that he did not intend to communicate any affiliation between Mr McClean and the Provisional IRA, but accepted the remarks were false and completely inaccurate. The case was then adjourned for discussions to take place on the level of the damages.

In court yesterday, Peter Girvan, counsel for Mr McClean, announced a final outcome in the case.

Mr Girvan said: "The claim relates to publication by the defendant during the 'Nolan Show' last November, in which he made a statement which defamed the plaintiff by affiliating the plaintiff with the Provisional IRA."

He confirmed that his client has accepted Mr McGimpsey's apology, and the terms of an agreement reached on the outstanding issues.

Mr Girvan added: "The defendant has agreed to pay £63,000, in respect of costs and compensation, in two instalments."

Neither Mr McClean nor Mr McGimpsey were in court for the final resolution.

Irish Independent

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