The 26-County Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea has apologised to Sinn Fein Councillor Maurice Quinlivan for making false and defamatory comments contained in a newspaper article earlier this year.
In a statement read before the High Court before Christmas, the Minister accepted that he made the defamatory statements in an interview with a journalist on March 10th.
As a result, last April Mr Quinlivan, who was elected to Limerick City Council following last June’s local elections and is Sinn Fein’s joint national treasurer, brought proceedings against the Minister and sought an injunction to prevent their repetition. In the statement Mr O’Dea said he accepted that all “the implications and statements were false and defamatory of Cllr Quinlivan” and that he “withdraws them in their entirety”.
The Minister accepted that Mr Quinlivan is “a person of the highest integrity and fully entitled to the good reputation he enjoys at a local and national level.”
The Minister apologised to the councillor both for making the statements and for denying having made them during the High Court Court injunction proceedings.
A Sinn Fein spokesman said the defamatory claims followed criticism of the Fianna Fail minister by Maurice Quinlivan over revelations that six civil servants were working on constituency matters for Mr O’Dea at a total cost to taxpayers of about two hundred thousand euro.