Forbes magazine apologises for article describing Irish president as gay

Financial magazine Forbes has apologised to the president of Ireland for publishing an article describing him as gay.

The New York-based business bible, famed for its rich list, claimed in a piece which appeared on its website yesterday that President Michael D Higgins was an "acknowledged homosexual".

Today the magazine said: "Both Forbes and the author of the post David Monagan sincerely regret the error. Forbes is issuing an apology to President Higgins in a separate correspondence."

President Higgins, who has four children with his actress wife Sabina, was mentioned in an article Monagan wrote about Samantha Power, the nominee for the post of US ambassador to the United Nations.

Forbes said the piece, which was available online for several hours yesterday, contained a "serious error".

Eamon Gilmore, Ireland's deputy prime minister and a former colleague of President Higgins in the Labour Party, said the fact that the story was pulled speaks for itself.

"I understand it was online and it was taken down – I think that tells us everything we need to know about that article," he said.

"It's probably more a source of embarrassment for the journalist who wrote it than for anyone else."

Monagan, who is originally from the United States but is now based in County Cork, is part of Forbes.com's contributor network.

The Irish Independent quoted Monagan as saying: "I feel horrible. The story is that I made a mistake, for which I apologise from my heart. It was under deadline pressure and is inexcusable.

"I have been reporting on the most complex, difficult things, including cardiovascular medicine, for 35 years and I have never had a mistake like this."

He had apologised to President Higgins, the newspaper added.

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