BBC payout over slur on former Northern Ireland presenter

BBC Northern Ireland has apologised and is to pay undisclosed compensation to one of its former peak-time presenters, George Jones, for damaging on-air remarks by his one-time colleague, Gerry Anderson, it has emerged.

Jones’s lawyers confirmed a settlement had been reached after the Corporation broadcast a full apology yesterday.

Legal action followed comments made during a Radio Ulster live handover on 2 August between Stephen Nolan and Anderson.

The statement of apology said: “The BBC accepts (the remarks) could have been understood to mean that George Jones is dishonest and has defrauded the Inland Revenue. No such allegations were intended, and the BBC and Gerry Anderson apologise for any hurt and distress that may have been caused to George Jones and his family.”

Jones, who worked for the BBC in Belfast for more than 21 years, and now has his own afternoon show with Ulster Television’s U105, said he was relieved the matter was over.

“It has been a particularly stressful time for me and the family and I feel it’s an event which should never have happened,” he said.

Jones’s lawyer Ernie Telford, senior partner with the Belfast firm of solicitors McCartan Turkington Breen, who was involved in discussions with the BBC to reach a settlement, said: “These damages are in recognition of the hurt and damage caused to George. He is clearly delighted with the outcome, because it has been an especially difficult time for him and his family.”

Jones, 63, who lives in County Down began working full-time with U105 in September. He said: “I feel justified that I took good, sound legal advice about this matter.

“The BBC has been very magnanimous in their speedy resolution of the whole situation. I’m glad its now over and this episode of my life has ended. I just want to get on with my career at U105.”

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