Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea has today apologised to Sinn Féin 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, the Minister accepted that he made the statements in an interview with a journalist of the Limerick Chronicle Newspaper on March 10 of this year.
As a result, last April, Mr Quinlivan, of Stenson Close, Limerick, who was elected to Limerick City council following last June's local elections and is Sinn Féin's joint national treasurer, brought defamation proceedings against the Minister and sought an injunction to prevent their repetition.
In the statement Mr O'Dea of Farrenshone, Limerick said that 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 Cllr 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 Cllr Quinlivan both for making the statements and for denying having made them during High Court injunction proceedings brought by Cllr Quinlivan.
The statement added that Cllr Quinlivan accepts that in those proceedings there was no intention on behalf of Minister to mislead in making the denial, and there was no suggestion that the Minister had acted other than innocently by making such a denial.
The Minister also paid damages and costs in respect of the proceedings, which Cllr Quinlivan brought in defence of his reputation.