O'Brien pays out £400,000 for libel

Denis O'Brien, the Irish media mogul, has been forced to pay out more than £400,000 to settle a libel claim in Dublin from the country's former deputy prime minister.

The billionaire Mr O'Brien, who is a major shareholder in Independent News & Media – which used to own The Independent – was forced to make the payment after the journalist Nell McCafferty made a libellous reference to Mary Harney on Mr O'Brien's Newstalk radio station.

Ms McCafferty had believed that she was off air when she made the remarks. She later called it "the biggest, worst libel in Irish history", but blamed the station for not making it clear she was speaking live. Ms Harney, who was a member of the recently ousted Irish government, brought the case despite the station offering several on-air apologies at the time of the libellous comments in March 2010.