Friday 13 December 2019

Tanaiste is standing by Rabbitte after €100,000 RTE libel action settled

Pat Rabbitte: made remarks
Pat Rabbitte: made remarks

Fionnan Sheahan

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore yesterday stood by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte after a libel action against RTE over remarks by the minister was settled.

The case was estimated yesterday to have cost the national broadcaster up to €100,000 in compensation and legal costs.

The incident is embarrassing for Mr Rabbitte, coming so soon after he was so critical of RTE over its "shoddy, unprofessional and cavalier piece of work" on the 'Prime Time Investigates' report into Fr Kevin Reynolds.

Mr Rabbitte was due to be called as a witness in the libel action over comments he made on an RTE news programme about the gardai's wrongful charging of a Dublin man with murder of two women at the Grangegorman hospital complex in 1997.

The libel action was settled out of court 10 days ago -- the same day Mr Rabbitte berated RTE.

When asked if Mr Rabbitte owed RTE and the licence-fee payers an apology for the expense caused by the case, Mr Gilmore replied: "I understand that this was settled by RTE and I'm sure RTE had good reasons for settling the case."

Meanwhile, the Labour Party was obliged to "offer hope in place of despair", even in these difficult times, SIPTU president Jack O'Connor said yesterday.

Speaking at the annual Labour James Connolly commemoration, Mr O'Connor said hope and confidence were intangible qualities but both needed to be built and sustained.

"It is an enormous challenge in the current political and economic climate for Labour, as a minority party in Government. But the party has met similarly difficult challenges in the past and needs to rise to the occasion again," he said.

The commemoration at Arbour Hill was attended by about 250 people.

Mr Gilmore said the task before the Government should not be underestimated.

"This is a moment in our history of great crisis. It can also be one of hope, where a new direction is set for our country," he said.

Irish Independent

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