'Tribune' and former editor in apology to Desmond


THE SUNDAY Tribuneand journalist Matt Cooper have apologised before the High Court to businessman Dermot Desmond over two articles published in the newspaper in 2001 and 2002.

Cooper, a former editor of the paper, is also to pay €10,000 to a charity of Mr Desmond’s choice in compensation for the publication of one of the articles.

Mr Desmond had brought two separate sets of libel proceedings against the newspaper and Cooper over articles published in February 2001 and in November 2002. Both sets of proceedings were struck out yesterday with no order.

The 2001 article was published on February 11th that year under the heading: “Cahill falls on surprise sword”, and was the subject of libel proceedings due to be heard by Mr Justice Eamon de Valera and a jury yesterday.

However, John Gordon, for Mr Desmond, told the judge that case had been settled on terms, including the reading of an apology on behalf of the defendants to the court. The proceedings could be struck out with no order, he added.

Counsel said the second set of proceedings, to be heard at a later date, had also been settled and struck out with no order and on the basis of another apology being read by the defendants.

Brian O’Moore, for the defendants, then read a statement to the court relating to the 2001 article.

It said: “An article appeared in the Sunday Tribunedated 11th February 2001 under the heading ‘Cahill falls on surprise sword’. In that article, it was stated that the board of Greencore and Bernie Cahill had been told that Dermot Desmond’s IIU, a 14.7 per cent shareholder in Greencore, had no objection to the change of the company’s articles to allow Mr Cahill to remain as chairman. It was further stated that Mr Cahill had been targeted by Mr Desmond. We recognise that these statements were inaccurate and should not have been published.”

The statement continued: “We sincerely apologise to Mr Desmond. Mr Cooper has agreed to make a payment of €10,000 to a charity of Mr Desmond’s choosing in compensation for this publication.”

Hugh Mohan, also for the defendants, then read a statement related to the second article.

It stated: “An article appeared in the Sunday Tribuneon 24th November 2002 under the heading “Indifference and defiance may turn to concern when Moriarty returns”. The article suggested that Dermot Desmond was an unfit person to participate in business transactions involving the State and that he did not disclose his involvement as an investor in Esat Digifone.

“Matt Cooper and the Sunday Tribuneaccept that these suggestions were inaccurate and sincerely apologise to Mr Desmond.”

Mr Justice de Valera said he was pleased the proceedings had been resolved and he made the orders sought.