Adams gets apology from Sunday World as defamation case is settled

Article claimed Former Sinn Féin president had met a former Provisional IRA member

Gerry Adams said he planned to donate any settlement to good causes, including those in the Irish language sector and the Bobby Sands Trust

Former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams's defamation case against the Sunday World has been settled at the High Court.

Mr Adams received an apology from the newspaper on Tuesday.

Afterwards, Mr Adams said he planned to donate any settlement to good causes, including those in the Irish language sector and the Bobby Sands Trust.

However, a source close to the case said the settlement was unlikely to have covered the costs of such a long-running defamation case.


The defamation action had been due to begin at the High Court, sitting at Croke Park, today, with a jury expected to be sworn in to hear the case.

Mr Adams had sued the Sunday World over an article it published on September 13th, 2015, with the headline: "Adams had secret meet with Provo McGuigan – murdered man talked with Gerry over threat".

In the article, it was alleged that the former Sinn Féin president attended a secret meeting with Kevin McGuigan, a former member of the Provisional IRA, over concerns for Mr McGuigan’s safety shortly before he was murdered in August 2015.

Immediately after the story was published, Mr Adams publicly denounced the story as “totally untrue”.

On Tuesday, Paul O’Higgins SC, on behalf of Sunday Newspapers, read out an apology to Mr Adams, saying that although the Sunday World had published the article in good faith it accepted Mr Adams’s position that no such meeting had taken place.

Mr O’Higgins said that the Sunday World was happy to publish the apology to correct the record.

Mr O’Higgins read out to the court: “Although the Sunday World reported the existence of such a meeting in good faith, we now accept Mr Adams’s position that no such meeting or conversation ever took place and have agreed to publish this apology to correct the record.”

Mr O'Higgins asked Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds to vacate any costs orders and strike out the proceedings. He asked the judge to make no orders relating to costs.

On behalf of Mr Adams, Declan Doyle SC thanked the court for the time afforded to the parties to settle the case.

Outside Croke Park, Mr Adams's solicitor Paul Tweed read out a statement on behalf of his client saying the Sunday World had published "totally false and spurious claims" that Mr Adams had met Mr McGuigan.

He said the story was a “sensationalised” front-page article, which continued over two pages inside the paper.

Mr Tweed said the publishers of the Sunday World had “finally” and “belatedly” acknowledged what they had done and retracted the allegations and had unreservedly apologised to Mr Adams.

‘Offensive claims’

Mr Adams thanked his legal team. He said that for a long time some elements of the media had reported or published “false, vicious and offensive claims about him and other Republicans”.

Mr Adams said that he was satisfied the Sunday World had apologised for this “deeply offensive and false article”.

Mr Adams said the case was always about "asserting his own integrity", and that he was conscious at the centre of the matter two men, Kevin McGuigan and Gerard Davison, had been murdered.

Mr Adams said the action was never about damages, and he planned to donate any damages to good causes, including those in the Irish language sector and the Bobby Sands Trust.

Asked if he was happy with the level of the settlement, Mr Adams said that he was “satisfied”.

Mediahuis, which owns the Sunday World, issued a statement which said that the settlement had brought to an end court proceedings which had been ongoing for more than six years, pre-dating Mediahuis’s takeover of the company.

A spokesperson said: “The article that referred to Mr Adams was published at a time of enormous political controversy surrounding the circumstances of Kevin McGuigan’s murder, a crime that remains unsolved to this day.”