Phil Hogan receives defamation damages over Traveller stories

EU commissioner claims Irish Daily Mail and TV3 wrongly suggested he was prejudiced

EU commissioner Phil Hogan pictured leaving the Four Courts on Tuesday  after he received an apology from TV3 and Associated Newspapers following his  High Court action. Photograph: Collins

EU commissioner Phil Hogan pictured leaving the Four Courts on Tuesday after he received an apology from TV3 and Associated Newspapers following his High Court action. Photograph: Collins

 

EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner, and former government Minister Phil Hogan, has received an apology, undisclosed damages and costs under settlements of his separate High Court actions alleging defamation against two media organisations.

Mr Hogan alleged articles by the Irish Daily Mail and comments broadcast on TV3 concerning representations made by him as a Fine Gael TD to a local authority wrongly suggested he was prejudiced against the Travelling community.

He was in court on Tuesday to hear the apologies read by counsel for both media organisations.

In a statement issued afterwards through his solicitor, Mr Hogan said he was pleased to have been “vindicated” by the apologies. Mr Hogan sincerely hopes he can continue to discharge his duties “without further wrongful and damaging media comment on this matter”, the statement added.

Earlier, Declan Doyle SC, for Mr Hogan, told Mr Justice Colm MacEochaidh both actions had settled on terms agreed between the sides and could be struck out with no order. Both defendants were to read apologies, he said.

In the apology on behalf of TV3, it was stated that, on May 20th, 2013, during broadcast of the Tonight with Vincent Browne show on TV3, comments were made by Mr Browne relating to Mr Hogan that he “engaged in racist behaviour and suggested he was prejudiced against the travelling community and he had intervened with the local authority to prevent the allocation of housing to travellers”.

“We accept that these comments were untrue, unwarranted, and were defamatory of Mr Hogan’s reputation. TV3 takes this opportunity to publicly apologise to Mr Hogan for the damage caused to his reputation.”

In an apology on behalf of Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd, publisher of the Irish Daily Mail, it was stated that, on September 26th and 27th, 2012, the Irish Daily Mail published articles about Mr Hogan, which “inferred that Mr Hogan was prejudiced against the travelling community and he had intervened with a local authority to prevent the allocation of housing to travellers”.

“We accept that these articles were unfair, misleading and damaging to Mr Hogan’s reputation.”

The publisher of the Irish Daily Mail takes this opportunity “to publicly withdraw these allegations and to apologise to Mr Hogan for the damage caused to his reputation”, the apology concluded.

Judge MacEochaidh made the relevant orders as sought by counsel.