The Garda Commissioner has apologised to Pat Carey for the "severe and wholly unjustified distress" the former TD suffered after information in relation to a Garda investigation made its way into the public domain.
Mr Carey had claimed in High Court proceedings his privacy and confidentiality were breached in articles published in 2015 concerning a Garda investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse involving an ex-Government Minister.
Mr Carey was not named in the reports, but claims he had to make a public statement rejecting the innuendo that surrounded him following their publication, as well as having to step down from roles he held at the time.
Following the conclusion of the Garda investigation, the DPP informed Mr Carey, who at all times strongly rejected any allegations of wrong-doing, that no charges were to be brought against him.
Arising out of the articles the former Fianna Fáil Minister and TD sued the Garda Commissioner, the Attorney General, Independent Newspapers Ireland Ltd and Independent News and Media Plc. seeking damages for an alleged breach of privacy and confidentiality.
When the matter was mentioned before Ms Justice Siobhan Stack at the High Court on Friday, Remy Farrell SC, instructed by solicitor James MacGuill, said that the matter against all parties had been settled and the matter could be struck out.
As part of the settlement Declan Doyle SC, appearing with Paul O'Neill Bl, on behalf on the Garda Commissioner read an apology to Mr Carey.
The Commissioner Drew Harris said that he acknowledges that during the course of the investigation into allegations relating to Mr Carey that information in relation to that investigation found its way into the public domain.
The Commissioner accepts that this should never have happened and acknowledges that this was the cause of severe and wholly unjustified distress to Mr Carey, and those close to him and damage to his reputation.
"The disclosure of confidential Garda information in an unauthorised and uncontrolled manner in relation to investigations is damaging to the integrity of the investigative process and damaging to public confidence in An Garda Síochána."
"The public is entitled to expect that relevant policy and procedures in place and adhered to." the Statement concluded.
Ms Justice Stack welcomed the settlement and agreed to strike out the proceedings.
No further details of the settlement were given in open court, however it is understood that Mr Carey has received substantial damages and his legal costs from the State defendants.
Right to privacy
In his action Mr Carey claimed that while the subject of the investigation was not named in the media reports, he was identified as the person concerned, and consequently became the subject of speculation.
He claimed he was placed in a position of having to make a public statement dealing with allegations of which he had no knowledge and felt obliged to step aside from positions he held while any investigation was underway.
He claimed his constitutional rights to privacy and confidentiality as well as his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights were breached.
He further alleged that the information in the reports published by the paper was disclosed to the media unlawfully by servants or agents of the Garda Commissioner, and he had sought aggravated and exemplary damages.
When the matter was previously before the courts the defendants had admitted that the articles were published, but had denied all the claims made against them,
The media defendants had argued that he was not identified as a result of the articles, and it was Mr Carey’s own statement that identified him as being the former Minister in question.
The media defendants also published Mr Carey’s denials of the allegations and had claimed that the articles were in the public interest.
'I hope lessons have been learned'
In a statement outside of court Mr Carey said he, "welcomed the end of the litigation and the apology," adding that he had been subjected to the gravest allegations, adding that his character had been vilified and his "good name destroyed."
"I hope lessons have been learned from the wrongful treatment that I was subjected to and that no other citizen has their rights violated in such a fashion again," he said.
"Those who know me throughout Ireland and abroad and from every sector of society knew there was no substance to the allegations.
"However, the scale of the publicity meant that I chose to step aside from my public functions in the interest of others until I could demonstrate the allegations were false."
He thanked his legal team and the "right-thinking members of civil society" who had stood by him.
Main image: Pat Carey. Picture by: RollingNews.ie