Newspaper’s publishers apologise to senator for Rwanda articles

The publishers of the Irish Daily Mail have apologised to Senator Fidelma Healy Eames over articles it published about her voluntary work in Rwanda.

The senator was in court yesterday to hear the apology read on behalf of Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Mail, in relation to articles on April 20 and 21, 2012, which “gave a wholly inaccurate impression” that she had benefited from public or charity funds.

Outside court, the senator said her work in Rwanda was one of the best things she did in her life.

“This was a bitter twist, but now, thank God, the playing field has been levelled,” she said.

Ms Healy Eames is also to receive undisclosed damages, from which she said she is going to give a donation to Rwandan widows and orphans.

Jim O’Callaghan, SC, for Ms Healy Eames, told Mr Justice John Hedigan that he was pleased to tell the court the matter had been resolved and could be struck out.

The reason for this was because his client had brought an application under the new Defamation Act and the Mail was now going to make amends by reading out an apology.

Michael Kealey, solicitor for Associated Newspapers Ltd and Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd, said there was consent to that and he read the apology, which stated the August 2012 articles were about the participation of Ms Healy Eames and her husband as volunteers with the Voluntary Service Overseas charity in Rwanda.

The newspaper wished to make it clear its participation was “exclusively in support of the charity in Rwanda”.

“We also accept the articles gave the wholly inaccurate impression that the senator had benefited from public or charity funds,” said Mr Kealey.

The apology stated that the senator voluntarily devoted her time and expertise to working with the ministry for education in the areas of early childhood and special needs. She worked with local teacher educators and policy-makers for the betterment of Rwandan children, it also stated.

“We apologise to the senator and her family for the embarrassment caused by our reports,” it said.


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