Galway City Council and councillor apologise for comments made after marathon cancelled

Galway City Council and one of its elected councillors have unreservedly apologised to two Galway brothers who claimed they were defamed in comments made in the wake of the cancellation of the 2011 Galway City Marathon.

Galway City Council and councillor apologise for comments made after marathon cancelled

Galway City Council and one of its elected councillors have unreservedly apologised to two Galway brothers who claimed they were defamed in comments made in the wake of the cancellation of the 2011 Galway City Marathon.

The apology was to athletes Paul and Richard Donovan who sued both the Council and Fianna Fail Councillor Michael J Crowe for alleged defamation arising out of several publications and statements made.

The actions were taking over the remarks concerning the role of the brothers as organisers of the Galway City Marathon.

The brothers claimed they were defamed in early August 2011 when the defendants issued statements to the effect that the brothers had allegedly delayed unnecessarily in informing prospective participants in the 2011 Galway City Marathon that the event had been cancelled.

It was further alleged that Cllr Crowe, also in early August 2011, published or caused a number of statements to the effect that the plaintiffs had allegedly failed to honour an agreement to pay a portion of the entry fee from each participant in the Galway City Marathon to the Galway City Sports Partnership.

While Cllr Crowe did withdraw the allegations in respect of the donations on August 11, 2011, and acknowledged that the earlier statement was incorrect, it was claimed he refused to apologise for the defamatory remarks he had made.

It was claimed these statements were not true, damaged the good names of the brothers as well as their personal and professional reputations.

The allegations and the failure to apologise caused additional distress to the brothers, who are athletes and are involved in the organisation of running events.

At the High Court today Paul Burns SC for the brothers told High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly the defamation actions had been settled.

Paul and Richard Donovan pictured running with their brother, Gerard. Photo: Andrew Downes/Greengarph.
Paul and Richard Donovan pictured running with their brother, Gerard. Photo: Andrew Downes/Greengarph.

As part of the settlements, a statement on behalf of the defendants was to be read to the court.

The statement said that "Following the cancellation of the 2011 Galway City Marathon, the defendants made reference to the Donovans in various publications.

"The defendants now acknowledge that the brother's voluntary commitment to Galway City Sports Partnership to make a donation of a portion of the proceeds of the 2010 Galway City Marathon was fully honoured at that time."

"The defendants also acknowledge that the Donovans did not delay in communicating the cancellation of the 2011 Galway City Marathon to registered competitors. "

We acknowledge that any suggestions to the contrary were false and undertake not to repeat or republish our earlier statements or words to similar effect.

"We accept that the plaintiffs are persons of the highest personal and professional integrity and unreservedly apologise for the hurt and distress caused by our previous comments."

After the statement was read to the court Mr Justice Kelly agreed to strike out the proceedings.

In a statement issued through their solicitors, the Donovans said they were very satisfied with what had been a comprehensive retraction of totally unfounded allegations, together with an unreserved apology from the defendants.

The brothers said they regretted having to bring the actions but are now delighted that the record has been set straight.

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