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Taoiseach never saw Michaela photographs, it was my mistake admits press secretary

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny's press chief has admitted he made a "mistake" when he said that the Taoiseach had viewed the photographs of Michaela McAreavey's corpse, published in the Mauritian Sunday Times.

Feargal Purcell emailed the photos to the Taoiseach so the latter could make a statement on the matter, which Mr Kenny described as "a gross affront to human dignity".

But it emerged last night that Enda Kenny (right) never actually looked at the images.

Speaking to the Herald today, Purcell reaffirmed: "The Taoiseach did not see them. He was briefed on the nature of the photographs by me. And on that basis he decided to release a statement. I was mistaken. Simple as that."

Mr Purcell refused to say how he had obtained the images that have horrified the Harte and McAreavey families. "I'm not going into that," he said.

On Sunday, the Taoiseach denounced publication of the pictures in the newspaper.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore then said on Monday that viewing the images would be "an invasion of privacy."

"I haven't seen the photographs and I don't want to see the photographs," he said.

hnews@herald.ie