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James Reilly wins defamation action against Irish Mail on Sunday, receives full apology

The value of the settlement was not disclosed in court.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

CHILDREN MINISTER JAMES Reilly has won a defamation action against Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Irish Mail on Sunday.

The paper issued a full apology to the minister today in the High Court in front of Judge Iseult O’Malley.

The action related to several articles published in that paper on 7 October 2012 with the headlines ‘Reilly Link to Developer of Second Clinic – He sold land for luxury homes… built by man in line for new HSE contract’ and ‘Doc’s Donlon Deal’.

The paper had alleged that there were links between Reilly and the developer building a HSE primary care centre in Swords arising out of a property transaction between Reilly, who was Minister for Health at the time, and the developer.

The paper subsequently apologised to Reilly in its edition published a fortnight later and acknowledged that Reilly had in fact sold the land in question four years earlier (2002) than they had alleged.

In court today it was announced that a settlement had been reached between both parties, while the newspaper read a full unreserved apology to the minister and said that it regrets that the article was published.

The paper said the error was made because of mistakenly believing that Land Registry title records show the date of a property sale, not the date it is logged by staff.

Reilly first launched his defamation action in November 2012.

An associate of the minister told TheJournal.ie that Reilly is “very, very happy” with the settlement.

The money involved in the settlement was not disclosed in court.

Here’s the full text of the apology:

In the Irish Mail on Sunday of 7 October 2012 we published an article under the headlines “REILLY LINK TO DEVELOPER OF SECOND CLINIC – He sold land for luxury homes… built by man in line for new HSE contract” and “Doc’s Donlon deal”. In it we claimed that there were links between Dr. James Reilly and the developer building a HSE primary care centre in Swords arising out of a property transaction between Mr. Reilly and the developer. This wholly incorrect statement was based on our mistaken belief that Land Registry title records show the date of a property sale, rather than the date on which the sale is logged by Land Registry staff.
The Irish Mail on Sunday is now satisfied that Dr. Reilly had no link to the developer of the clinic and acknowledges that this grave allegation was without foundation and should not have been made.
Any implication within our report that Dr Reilly had abused his position as Minister for Health to favour the granting of a public contract to a developer with whom he had personal links, or that he was politically corrupt, is also without foundation.
The Irish Mail on Sunday deeply regrets that the article was published and is happy unreservedly to apologise to Dr. Reilly for the damage and distress caused to him by the article.

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