Author agrees to pay two Armagh brothers $1m


The libel case against the author and journalist Mr Sean McPhilemy over his book The Committee ended suddenly in Washington yesterday when he and his publisher agreed to pay two Co Armagh brothers $1 million in damages.

Mr McPhilemy and his publisher, Roberts Rinehart, accepted that David and Albert Prentice were never members of the committee described.

The Prentices were suing for £100 million but their lawyer, Mr William Taylor, said yesterday they were satisfied with the out-of-court settlement. Each side will pay its own costs.

The Prentices said: "We have accomplished what we came to America to do. We have cleared our names of the horrible accusations made about us in this book and we look forward to returning to our families."

Mr McPhilemy recently won his libel action against the Sunday Times in London arising from an article which accused him of hoaxing on a TV programme he made about the so-called committee. Mr McPhilemy was awarded £145,000 sterling.

In the book, it is alleged that members of a shadowy committee made up of members of the RUC, unionist politicians, loyalists and businessmen plotted the assassination of Catholics in Northern Ireland. The UUP leader, Mr David Trimble, who was due to be called as a witness for the Prentices, was allegedly associated with this committee.

Mr Trimble is suing an online book company, Amazon.UK, for distributing the book.