Former justice minister settles defamation action against The Irish Times

Four CourtsFormer Justice Minister Patrick Cooney has reached a settlement in his defamation action against The Irish Times.

The case was struck out by Mr Justice Bernard Barton in the High Court today after the parties agreed that Mr Cooney would receive an apology, “substantial” damages and his legal costs.

In a statement, The Irish Times said: “On February 26th 2014, The Irish Times published an article suggesting that Mr Patrick Cooney was an accomplice to alleged Garda brutality when he was Minister for Justice from 1973 to 1977. On November 17th 2014, The Irish Times published an apology for making this allegation, acknowledged its falsity and undertook not to repeat it.

“An opinion piece by Professor Diarmaid Ferriter in the edition of June 4th 2016 referred to a unit within the Garda Siochána known as the ‘heavy gang’ and to Garda abuses.

“Neither The Irish Times nor Professor Ferriter intended the reference to Mr Cooney in that article as suggesting that he approved of any abuse that occurred. We accept that he did not approve of such alleged abuses or illegality and that any such suggestion is entirely false.

“We apologise to Mr Cooney and his family for the great upset caused to them by this article and undertake for the future not to print or publish this allegation or any similar allegation in this form. The Irish Times has further agreed to pay substantial damages and costs to Mr Cooney.”

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