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January 25, 2008updated 26 Jan 2008 8:51pm

Northern Ireland papers pay damages to minister

Three regional newpapers in Northern Ireland, along with the Ulster Unionist Party, have been ordered to pay substantial libel damages to Environment Minister Arlene Foster.

Apologies were also read out at the High Court in Belfast today on behalf of the papers – The News Letter, Tyrone Constitution and Tyrone Courier – for making false allegations against Foster that she betrayed unionists by working to ensure Sinn Fein’s Michelle Gildernew was elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in 2001.

The case centred on a press release carried on the UUP website.

An out-of-court, five-figure-sum settlement was reached today, halting the week-long libel trial that had been due to begin next week.

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