McClean awarded damages over slur
Ireland footballer James McClean is to receive damages from an Ulster Unionist councillor who falsely referred to him as a "super Provo", the High Court in Belfast heard yesterday.
UUP representative Chris McGimpsey has also issued an unreserved apology for unfounded comments he said were made "in the heat of the moment" on a radio programme.
A further hearing may now be needed to determine the level of compensation to be paid to Stoke City winger McClean.
The Ireland star (29) issued defamation proceedings following the politician's appearance on BBC Radio Ulster's Nolan Show last November.
The Derry-born footballer's lawyers told the court the remarks were then repeated and became the focus of commentary on social media.
As part of steps to resolve the legal action, a barrister for Mr McGimpsey yesterday read out a statement in open court.
David Dunlop said: "On November 9, 2018, Christopher McGimpsey made a statement in the course of a debate on the Stephen Nolan Show in which he referred to James McClean as being a 'super Provo'.
"Mr McGimpsey did not intend to communicate that there was any affiliation between Mr McClean and the Provisional Irish Republican Army.
"Mr McGimpsey made this statement in the heat of the moment and did so without taking adequate care to consider the implications of those words.
"He accepts that the statement was false and completely inaccurate.
"Mr McGimpsey had no basis whatsoever for suggesting any connection between Mr McClean and the Provisional Irish Republican Army.
"In the circumstances, Mr McGimpsey has agreed to pay damages and legal costs to Mr McClean and unreservedly apologises for any distress and embarrassment his statement on the Nolan Show caused."
Mr Dunlop told Mr Justice Maguire the level of damages remains to be established.
The judge agreed to list the case for a further review in May.