Email Us My Blog

Solicitor Apologises To Journalist

Patsy McGarry, Irish Times, 21/06/2006

Disparaging comments made about Irish Independent religious affairs correspondent John Cooney on Monday were withdrawn at yesterday's hearing of the investigation committee of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse.

Solicitor for the Christian Brothers, Padraig Lankford, made the remarks when David McGrath, counsel for former residents of institutions, referred to a passage in Cooney's book John Charles McQuaid, Ruler of Catholic Ireland. It claimed that in 1944, Dr McQuaid, archbishop of Dublin, made representations to the then minister for justice Gerard Boland to have a Garda investigation into allegations of abuse at Artane stopped.

Yesterday Joe O'Sullivan, counsel for the Christian Brothers, accompanied by Mr Lankford, told the committee that Mr Lankford wished "to withdraw absolutely those comments and any other comments which he made during the course of his intervention which might be interpreted as being critical of Mr Cooney". Mr Lankford apologised to Cooney "unreservedly and without qualification" for any offence caused him, he said.

Cooney asked committee chairman Judge Sean Ryan to grant him legal representation. It was refused. He then asked for an adjournment so he could seek legal advice. This was refused. He advised Judge Ryan to consider his position and suggested he was guilty of "dereliction" in not protecting his (Cooney's) reputation from "gross defamation" more robustly on Monday.

The Irish Times