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Catholic Herald apologises for libel

 The Catholic Herald has apologised for unjustly harming the reputation of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's former Public Affairs Director in an article it published in July 2006.

The article, 'Cardinal's aide forced out after abortion revelation', repeated allegations first published in the Daily Mail which a jury in January unanimously found to be untrue following a two-week trial at the High Court. The Daily Mail was ordered to pay Dr Austen Ivereigh substantial damages as well as his legal costs.

Dr Ivereigh launched a separate action against the Catholic Herald after the newspaper refused to apologise in the event of his case succeeding against the Mail.

The Catholic Herald this week reached an out-of-court settlement with Dr Ivereigh, agreeing to pay him £60,000 in legal costs including several thousand pounds in damages.

In its apology, the newspaper admits that it published the allegations "without allowing Dr Ivereigh to correct them either before or after publication, leaving him with little choice but to begin legal proceedings against the Catholic Herald also."

It adds: "We apologise for the damage to his reputation and distress which we occasioned him".

Austen Ivereigh said: "For a year I tried in vain to get the editor to listen to the truth and to publish a correction, and only took the legal path when all others were blocked."

He added: "I am sure the lessons have been learned and we can now be reconciled."