Eurovision star and former MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon has welcomed a six-figure defamation settlement and apology from the publishers of The Daily Mail, saying that media outlets “must realise they cannot print lies and get away with it.”
Speaking on Monday, Mrs Scallon also vowed to go to court if necessary against The Irish Times – stating that doing so would “draw a line” underneath all court proceedings.
Speaking as news of the settlement emerged today, Mrs Scallon, who served as a member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2004, said she should never have been put in the position of having to litigate against so many newspapers – as she spoke of her relief that the nine-year legal case had finally reached an end.
In a statement provided to Gript, Ireland’s first Eurovision winner and former politician said that media outlets “must realise they cannot print lies” – nor should they target people of faith, as she described what was published by The Daily Mail as “an attack on my good name and integrity.”
An apology was read out at the High Court in Belfast on Monday as part of a settlement in her legal action against Daily Mail publishers, who printed false allegations about her brother’s criminal trial.
Back in 2014, the singer’s brother, John Brown, was unanimously cleared of child sex abuse charges, with Mr Brown and Mrs Scallon speaking about the ‘horror’ they had endured. Mr Brown’s fight to clear his name drew high-profile support, including from television personality Louis Walsh and Sir Cliff Richard.
Defamation claims related to untrue reporting that Dana had covered up the alleged abuse.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” the singer said of claims made in an online Sunday World report from 2014, after she won a separate settlement and apology for defamation in 2021. The 72-year-old, best known by her stage name Dana, also won an earlier settlement for defamation from The Sunday World three years earlier, in 2018.
Mrs Scallon brought legal action against publishers of The Daily Mail over the contents of an online article on her brother’s trial.
Separate claims brought against Associated Newspapers in Dublin, and against DMG Media Ltd in Belfast, trading as the dailymail.co.uk have now been settled.
The brother of the former Irish presidential candidate, spoke about how he had been the subject of a “witch hunt” by the Metropolitan Police (Met) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to secure `celebrity’ prosecutions. He later made an official complaint over what he described as the “failure” by authorities to prosecute the witnesses against him in the criminal trial years after his acquittal.
Today’s payout will cover proceedings issued by Mrs Scallon in both Northern Ireland and in the Republic.
In a statement provided to Gript after today’s court victory, Mrs Scallon said:
“I wish to thank KRW Law for having the tenacity and expertise to see through these legal battles. I should never have been put in this position of having to litigate against so many different media outlets.
“Serious false allegations were also made in court reporting when I stood up for my brother in his battle to defend himself against the outrageous allegations made against him,” she said.
The statement continued: “This particular case took nine years to conclude; no one should ever be put in this position.
“Media outlets must realise that they cannot print lies and think they will get away with it. Nor should they target people of faith. What was published was an attack on my good name and integrity.
“I am both relieved and very happy to obtain yet further vindication on my position,” she continued, adding:
“I look forward now to ending my final defamation case and if necessary going to court against one outstanding media outlet (The Irish Times) after which I can draw a line underneath all court proceedings.”
Barrister for Dana, Peter Girvan, said in a statement: “The parties have reached a settlement which involves the payment of an agreed, undisclosed six-figure sum, together with costs.”
An apology read out on behalf of the defendants read:
“On July 10th 2014 the headline of a report of the opening speech by the prosecution in proceedings for sexual offences against John Brown, the brother of the politician and recording artist Dana Rosemary Scallon, may have suggested that the accused was guilty of the charges and Dana knew of his offences.
“In fact, we are happy to make clear that this allegation was found to be false.
“Mr Brown was unanimously acquitted by a jury, and we apologise to Dana and her family for any contrary impression given.”
Meanwhile, solicitor Kevin Winters of KRW Law, said in a statement following today’s settlement: “This is the penultimate defamation action to settle in a very long list of cases issued by Dana.
“They all arose in the aftermath of her brother’s successful acquittal on unfounded allegations of historic abuse.”
“At times it has been a gruelling journey for her and her family. She is very pleased to see the latest endorsement of her good name and impeccable reputation,” Mr Winters added.