Newspaper apologises in court to psychiatrist

The Irish Times newspaper has apologised before the High Court to consultant psychiatrist Patricia Casey over comments posted about her on the publication’s website.

Prof Casey initiated the defamation proceedings over remarks that were made in the online comments section by individuals in July 2013 in relation to articles in The Irish Times written by columnist Breda O’Brien and by psychiatrist Brendan Kelly.

At the High Court yesterday, Jim O’Callaghan, counsel for Prof Casey, told Mr Justice Paul Gilligan the action had been resolved between the parties. As part of the settlement, an apology was read to the court by Cian Ferriter on behalf of the newspaper.

The apology said: “In the summer of 2013, The Irish Times published on its website a series of articles relating to the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill which, at that stage, was progressing though the Houses of the Oireachtas.

“In the comment section beneath the articles that were published on The Irish Times website, two anonymous members of the public made comments stating that Prof Patricia Casey was an unprofessional psychiatrist who was unfit to treat suicidal pregnant women. The comments also asserted that Prof Casey misrepresented psychiatric research in order to promote a Catholic agenda.

“The Irish Times accepts that the comments made about Prof Casey were untrue. The Irish Times recognises that Professor Casey is a psychiatrist of the highest integrity and professionalism.

“We apologise to Prof Casey for the distress caused to her as a result of the comments made on the Irish Times website.”

No other details of the settlement were revealed in open court.


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