25 January 2008
Minister wins five-figure sum in libel damages
Environment minister Arlene Foster has won a five-figure sum in libel damages from the Ulster Unionist Party (UPP) and a number of newspapers, the BBC reports.
Ms Foster brought the legal case after the News Letter, Tyrone Constitution and Tyrone Courier published what she described as false allegations.
The case centres on a press release in the name of former MP Ken Maginnis which was posted on the UUP website.
A week-long trial had been scheduled to begin next week but is has been confirmed that an out-of-court settlement has been reached.
As part of the settlement, a QC read out an apology from the three newspapers stating: "We accept that [the] allegations were entirely unfounded and apologise to Mrs Foster and for the distress and embarrassment caused to her."
With a history dating back over 100 years, the UUP is one of Northern Ireland's main unionist parties.