James McClean awarded £63,000 over being falsely called a ‘super provo’

Ex-UUP councillor Chris McGimpsey apologises for defaming Republic of Ireland footballer

Republic of Ireland footballer  James McClean celebrates scoring a goal against Wales in 2017. File photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Republic of Ireland footballer James McClean celebrates scoring a goal against Wales in 2017. File photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

 

Republic of Ireland footballer James McClean is to receive £63,000 from a former councillor who defamed him by falsely referring to him as a “super Provo” during a radio debate, Belfast’s High Court has heard.

The settlement covers damages and legal costs of the Stoke City player’s legal action against Chris McGimpsey, a former Ulster Unionist Party representative in Belast.

Mr McGimpsey has already issued an unreserved apology for unfounded comments made “in the heat of the moment” during a debate on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show in November of last year.

Mr McClean (30) sued over the comments and the court heard previously that the remarks were repeated and the focus of commentary on social media.

A statement previously read out on Mr McGimpsey’s behalf stressed that he did not intend to communicate any affiliation between Mr McClean and the Provisional IRA. He accepted the remarks were false and completely inaccurate and the case had been adjourned for discussions on the level of damages.

Mr McClean’s counsel Peter Girvan confirmed in court on Wednesday that his client had accepted Mr McGimpsey’s apology and the terms of an agreement reached on the outstanding issues.

“The defendant has agreed to pay £63,000, in respect of costs and compensation, in two instalments,” he said.

Neither Mr McClean nor Mr McGimpsey were in court for the final resolution but Mr Justice Maguire acknowledged the efforts made to secure the settlement.