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Irish Times, Irish Examiner and Echo to pay damages to former trainee priest for 'false' article

Each publication acknowledged that the article was “false and should not have been published”.

Image: Shutterstock/Billion Photos

A FORMER TRAINEE priest who launched High Court proceedings against eight newspapers has received an official apology from three of them today. 

Conor Gannon, who is being represented by Thomas A Walsh & Co solicitors in Kilkenny, issued the proceedings against the Irish Times on 16 May 2018, against Irish Examiner Limited on 30 April of this year and Evening Echo Limited on 1 May.

It’s understood the legal action related to an article which claimed two unnamed seminarians were sent home from the Pontifical Irish College in Rome last year.

All three publications issued similar apologies acknowledging that they referred to and identified Conor Gannon who at that time was a clerical student studying for the priesthood in the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.

The Irish Examiner, the Irish Times, and the Evening Echo all said they accept that there was no truth in and no basis for the allegations made. 

Each publication also acknowledged that the article was “false and should not have been published”.

All three publications have agreed to pay damages to Gannon for the “upset and distress caused to him by the article”.

The Irish Examiner and the Evening Echo, which was recently rebranded as The Echo, are both based in Cork. They were bought by the Irish Times in July 2018.

‘Widespread lurid allegations’

The article in question was first published in the Irish Times in May 2018 and was then reported by a number of other media outlets.

Gannon issued legal proceedings against the Irish Times last May. He then issued legal proceedings against Independent Star Limited, which publishes the Irish Daily Star, in July.

Last October, Gannon launched a High Court action against News Group Newspapers, a subsidiary of News Corp which publishes The Sun, in October. 

Gannon issued legal proceedings against Independent News and Media, which publishes a number of newspapers including the Irish Independent, in February.

In May, the Irish Catholic reported that one of the men in question was taking legal action to clear his good name over “widespread lurid allegations” which he denied. 

“It is also claimed that both men were not dismissed from the college, as reported in the media, but left of their own accord,” the article notes.

Comments are closed due to ongoing legal proceedings.

With reporting from Órla Ryan 

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