The renowned business magazine that claimed Irish president Michael D Higgins is gay has apologised to the President.
'Forbes', one of the foremost financial magazines in the US, was forced to make the embarrassing apology a day after it pulled a story, which described the Mr Higgins as an "acknowledged homosexual".
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the claim by the so-called 'business bible'' about the happily married President was an "embarrassment" for the author rather than anyone else.
"On the 'Forbes' article, I understand it was online and was taken down.
"That tells us everything we need to know about that article. It is more a source of embarrassment for the journalist who wrote it rather than it is for anyone else," he said.
A spokeswoman for 'Forbes' said the magazine seriously regretted the error and would be sending a written apology to Mr Higgins.
In a statement, issued almost 24 hours after the article was pulled from its website, the magazine said: "On July 23, a contributor to Forbes.com posted an article about American UN Ambassador nominee Samantha Power that contained a serious error concerning the President of Ireland, Mr Michael D Higgins.
"Both Forbes and the author of the post David Monagan sincerely regret the error. Forbes is issuing an apology to President Higgins in a separate correspondence."
"Mr Monagan is part of Forbes.com's contributor network and the article in question did not appear in Forbes magazine," it added.
Mr Monagan, a US citizen who lives in Cork, has already issued a heartfelt apology for the "terrible" error which he described as the "worst mistake I've ever made".
When approached at his home in Cork yesterday, Mr Monagan said he is to write to Mr Higgins to personally apologise for the mistake. The author, who moved to Ireland 10 years ago, said he cannot believe he made such "an inexcusable error" and feels "absolutely terrible" over what happened.
"I just want to offer my sincere apology to the President and his family for what happened," he said.
He previously told this newspaper that the error was made "under deadline pressure".
"I have been reporting on the most complex, difficult things, including cardiovascular medicine, for 35 years and I have never had a mistake like this."
Mr Monagan is the author of two books on Ireland and said that, in the millions of words he has written on this country, "that's the worst mistake I've ever made."
In his article on Ms Power, Mr Monagan wrote: "The current president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, is a poet, acknowledged homosexual, and nearly as outspoken as his predecessors."