'Ming' apologises to rival politician for comments on Facebook
MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan has apologised to a Fianna Fáil politician for comments he posted on his Facebook page on the morning of the October 2014 by-election.
A defamation action taken by Councillor Ivan Connaughton against Mr Flanagan was settled at Roscommon Circuit Court.
In an apology read to the court, Mr Flanagan said that on October 10, 2014, he had posted comments on his Facebook page referring to remarks made by Ivan Connaughton in an article in the 'Roscommon Herald' in February 2011.
"In hindsight, Mr Flanagan accepts that he misinterpreted the comments made by Mr Connaughton and he is happy to correct the record in this regard," Judge Doirbhile Flanagan was told.
The apology, read on Mr Flanagan's behalf, added: "Mr Flanagan apologises to Mr Connaughton for any hurt caused."
Cllr Connaughton led the initial counts in the Roscommon South Leitrim by-election in 2014. But in what was regarded as a surprise defeat for Fianna Fáil, the seat was ultimately taken by Independent candidate Michael Fitzmaurice, who had been endorsed by Mr Flanagan.
Both Mr Flanagan and Mr Connaughton were yesterday at Roscommon courthouse for the hearing, which had been expected to continue all day.
At the outset, counsel for both men requested an adjournment to allow talks to take place, and after almost three hours, Judge Flanagan heard that there had been a settlement. She adjourned the case until March to allow for implementation of the settlement.
Speaking afterwards, Cllr Connaughton said that he was delighted with the outcome.
"I did not take this case for financial gain," said the Athleague-based auctioneer.
"I wanted to clear my name and now I just want to move on with my political career and my business."
Mr Connaughton said he felt he had no choice but to take the case.