Irish Mail on Sunday apologises over assassination slur

The Irish Mail on Sunday has apologised and paid damages to a retired police detective it alleged was an IRA informer who set up two Royal Ulster Constabulary officers for assassination.

Owen Corrigan, who is now a publican, is believed to have accepted a six-figure sum in damages and legal cost over an article published in 2003, according to the Dundalk-based Argus newspaper.

Eion McCullough, counsel for publisher Associated Newspapers, read a statement to the Irish High Court in which the newspaper unreserved apologised and withdrew its allegations.

The Argus reported McCullough told the court: “The report stated that Mr Corrigan had passed information to the IRA which led to the killings of two RUC officers.

“It also stated that Mr Corrigan was involved in other criminal activity.

“These statements are false and Ireland on Sunday [the Irish Mail on Sunday’s previous title] withdraws them in their entirety.”

Corrigan retired from Ireland’s police force, the Garda, in 1992. He told the Argus after the hearing: “To be accused of something like this beggars description.”

The newspaper had incorrectly alleged in 1989 information passed on by Corrigan led to two RUC officers being killed in an ambush in south Armagh as they returned from a visit to Dundalk Garda station.

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