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Sunday World apologises to Sinn Féin MLA in High Court settlement

10 November, 2011 - by Gerry Kelly

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has settled a High Court defamation case against the Sunday World in Dublin this morning (Thursday 10 November).

The case involved two articles published by the Sunday World in 1996 which accused Mr Kelly of being Chief of Staff of the IRA and responsible for ending the IRA ceasefire in 1996 and of having a liaison with US diplomat Martha Pope for “ulterior motives”.

An apology was read out in the court this morning on behalf of the Sunday World to Mr Kelly and an undisclosed sum of money was involved in the settlement.

Speaking afterwards Mr Kelly said:

“This case could have been settled 15 years ago with a simple apology from the Sunday World but they consistently fought to keep the case from going to court.

“I felt I should pursue the case in order to combat the view in some elements of the media that republicans, and particularly ex-prisoners are fair game and easy targets.

“There is an onus on all journalists and news corporations to report in an honest and fact based manner. To do otherwise, as was done in this case, is to do a disservice not only to the people involved in the story but to the public in general.”

Sunday World apology:

On 25 February 1996 the Sunday World published an article stating that Gerry Kelly was Chief of Staff of the IRA and had responsibility for ending the IRA ceasefire in February 1996.

On the 1 December 1996 the Sunday World published a story suggesting that Gerry Kelly had a liaison with a US diplomat Martha Pope for ulterior motives.

The Sunday World acknowledges that both articles were wrong. The Sunday World accepts that Mr Kelly has played an important part in ending the violence in Northern Ireland and made a positive and significant contribution to the peace process.

The Sunday World apologises to Gerry Kelly for the upset that the articles caused.

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