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Major Libel Victory for Former Youth Defence Leader
Independent apologise for libel to Niamh Uí Bhriain
Niamh Uí Bhriain, formerly chairwoman of Youth Defence, wins major libel victory against the Independent. The paper printed an apology for articles written in 1997 which defamed the ro-life leader. It took nine years for the matter to come to court as the Independent opposed a hearing at every turn.
Independent Newspapers have agreed to read an apology to leading pro-life activist, Niamh Uí Bhriain (nee Nic Mhathúna) in open court following a nine-year libel battle against the newspaper group, which has finally been settled. In what has been called a ‘major victory for pro-life activism and for free speech’ the Irish Independent also agreed to a printed apology.
In the printed apology, which appeared on page 3 of the Irish Independent on April 14th the Independent acknowledged that suggestions that the then Niamh Nic Mhathúna had been involved in violent activities were untrue, and admitted that she is ‘a person of the highest integrity’. The offending articles were written in 1997 when the pro-life leader was spokeswoman for Ireland’s largest and most visible pro-life group, Youth Defence. The apology wil be read in open court on May 1st.
Mrs Uí Bhriain is reported in the Irish Family Press as being ‘absolutely delighted’ with the outcome. ‘It’s been a long battle and, at times, a difficult one’, she said, ‘but we were sure from the outset that the truth would prevail. This is a victory for everyone who fights for unborn babies and their mothers.’
She thanked her legal team and her ‘wonderful family’ who had made the outcome possible. ‘I’d also like to share this victory with the entire pro-life community who have stood by me and supported me in this case for such a long period of time. The support I received was really extraordinary’, she said.
Mrs Uí Bhriain, who is expecting her third baby shortly, added that: ‘The media in this country have gone to extraordinary lengths to demonise and attack pro-lifers. Now the work done by Youth Defence and Mother and Child Campaign to protect mothers and babies has been vindicated yet again.’ She said that no-one should be intimidated by the wealth and resources of giant media groups, and that no newspaper or journalist had the right to defame individuals or to tell lies about those who worked to protect helpless children from the abortion industry. ‘Sometimes the sheer vindictiveness of what’s written to deter and intimidate pro-life activists is startling’, added Mrs Uí Bhriain, ‘Pro-life people are wrongly accused, defamed and attacked all the time. What was written about me was entirely untrue, and a slur on my character and good name. It needed to be challenged.’
Congratulations and good wishes have poured in for Niamh Uí Bhriain who says she is planning ‘a big celebration for everyone after the new baby is born.’