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James McClean awarded €71k over defamatory remark made by former UUP councillor

McClean brought a defamation action against Chris McGimpsey.

Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

IRISH FOOTBALLER JAMES McClean has been awarded £63,ooo (€71,000) after a unionist councillor was found to have defamed him on radio.

Last November UUP councillor Chris McGimpsey appeared on BBC Radio Ulster where he made remarks about McClean. 

The footballer, through his solicitors, brought a defamation action against McGimpsey , who in March unreservedly apologised for his words. 

John Finucane, who represented McClean in the matter, today released a statement.

He said:  “Today my client, Stoke & Ireland international James McClean, was awarded £63,000 following defamatory comments by a former UUP councillor. Mr McClean is delighted at today’s conclusion to this case & trusts this shows his commitment to defend his reputation at all times.”

In a statement in March, McClean’s solicitor’s said: “During the course of the hearing , UUP councillor Chris McGimpsey , through his legal representative, issued an unreserved apology to Mr McClean.

“In the course of that apology that was out in full, it was advanced that the offending statement made on BBC Radio Ulster on 7 November 2018 was false and completely inaccurate, and failed to consider the implication of his defamatory remark. 

“The apology, whilst given four months since the comments were made, is welcomed. The level of damages that require to be awarded have yet to be assessed, and we are confident that this process will reflect the seriousness and gravity of the offending comments. 

“Whilst this case was unnecessary and avoidable, it allows our client to demonstrate that he will protect and uphold his reputation and good name at every opportunity and with all of the determination that he displays as a professional footballer.”

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