Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein man apologises to councillor over online remarks

Case: Fine Gael’s Ted Leddy
Case: Fine Gael’s Ted Leddy

By Tim Healy

A Fine Gael councillor in the Republic has received an "unreserved apology" from a Sinn Fein activist over comments posted on Facebook.

Ted Leddy (32), who holds the council seat in Castleknock in Fingal once held by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, settled a defamation action he took against Sinn Fein activist Alan Donnelly over comments posted on the social media platform on July 12, 2018.

He had claimed that the defamatory post, arising out of the councillor's attendance at an event marking the Orange Order's July 12 celebrations, had led to him receiving a death threat.

At the High Court in Dublin yesterday, Mr Justice Seamus Noonan was told by William Maher BL that the case had been settled on terms.

As part of the settlement, a statement by Mr Donnelly was read to the court. He "unreservedly apologised to Mr Leddy," and acknowledged that his comments published on Facebook with respect to Mr Leddy and his political activities "were entirely untrue, unwarranted and without foundation".

Mr Donnelly also "apologised unreservedly for any distress caused to Mr Leddy his partner and his family as a consequence of his actions and he confirms that he has paid an amount of compensation to Mr Leddy as a result".

The court heard that Mr Donnelly, from Lohunda Downs, Clonsilla, Dublin, had also agreed to pay Mr Leddy a sum of €19,750 (£17,258), which includes the FG councillor's legal costs.

Mr Maher said the defamation arose after his client was pictured at "a cross-border, cross-community event," on July 12 last year.

Counsel said Mr Donnelly was not present in court but was aware of the application and that the statement was being read to the court as part of the agreement.

Other terms of the settlement include undertakings by Mr Donnelly to desist from making any further defamatory and hateful comments about Mr Leddy.

He had agreed that over the next 24 hours he will remove all previous defamatory comments made by him on social media.

Mr Donnelly also undertook to post a statement in similar terms to the one read to the court on top of his Facebook newsfeed for the next 30 days, and share it on several social media pages where the original defamatory post was widely circulated.

Mr Justice Noonan agreed to accept and file the terms of the settlement agreement and gave liberty to Cllr Leddy to apply to have the case re-entered should the need arise.

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