Radio Station libels former Irish politician Mary Harney, Called her alcoholic

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Mary Harney, pictured above, has won a libel payout over comments made on Ireland's Newstalk radio. (Credit: Flickr, "")

Former Irish politician Mary Harney was awarded €450,000 from Newstalk after the radio station broadcast comments that Harney is an “alco,” slang for alcoholic, The Journal reported.

Newstalk radio is described as “Ireland’s national independent talk radio broadcaster.”

The Phoenix magazine is credited with reporting the sum and settlement. Because Phoenix is behind a subscription service, StinkyJournalism cannot confirm what was written.  Harney reportedly asked for €1 million in the case.

The libel suit stemmed from the comment that Harney is an “alco.”  Irish commentator and journalist Nell McCafferty made the comments  “over a year ago” on Newstalk’s”The Tom Dunne Show,” when she was a guest, The Irish Times reported.

McCafferty thought she “was off air when she made the remarks,” and “exchanging gossip” the Independent and the Sunday Times reported. She has called her comments “the biggest, worst libel in Irish history,” and reportedly “blamed the station for not making it clear she was speaking live.”

According to a March 2010 Sunday Times article, McCafferty claimed that Harney “has received treatment for alcohol addiction.”

While the station apologized on air and its owner, Denis O’Brien, reportedly tried to privately apologize to Harney, Harney went ahead with the lawsuit.

O’Brien is paying the money, according to the Independent, which noted he is also “a major shareholder in Independent News & Media.”

The Journal reported that McCafferty believed her comments were made during an “introductory chat over tea and a bun before we went live”.  The Journal added that Harney has previously donated some libel winnings to charity.

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Radio Station libels former Irish politician Mary Harney, Called her alcoholic

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