Newspaper denies forcing reporter to wipe 'cocaine tape'

The editor-in-chief of the Irish Mail on Sunday has denied his staff put so much pressure on a journalist that she was forced to destroy a recording of a government minister admitting he took cocaine.

Ted Verity, editor-in-ehief of The Irish Mail on Sunday, said the author Justine Delaney Wilson’s attempt to blame the publication for her decision to get rid of the admission was ludicrous and defamatory.

In a recently-published book, and a two-part documentary aired on RTE, Delaney Wilson claimed a senior Government politician admitted taking cocaine.

However, the author and reporter said she has since wiped a digital recording of the alleged confession made in Buswells Hotel, yards from the Dail.

The state broadcaster is investigating the claims after coming under pressure from politicians to substantiate them.

In another Sunday newspaper, Delaney Wilson, who is on holiday in New Zealand, said she destroyed the digital recording because of intense pressure, intimidation and threats.

“The Mail on Sunday were particularly unpleasant,” she told the Sunday Tribune.

“People were following me and hanging around my family home. I sought independent legal advice and I was told I was unable to hang onto it. There simply was no safe place for it.

“It’s all very well for people to say they wouldn’t destroy it but when you have children it’s a different story.

“If the choice is to destroy it rather than have it fall into the wrong hands then I’ll take the hit on my credibility.”

Delaney Wilson said if she had that tape now she would not be able to sleep at night.

The journalist added that she still stands by her revelations and will be considering legal action against a number of media outlets.

“Justine Delaney Wilson’s attempt to blame the Irish Mail on Sunday for her decision to destroy the alleged tape of her interview with the ‘cocaine-snorting minister’ is ludicrous,” said Verity.

“Her claims that she was somehow put under undue pressure by our staff are totally untrue and defamatory.

“For the record, in the interests of publicising her book Miss Delaney Wilson agreed to be interviewed by The Irish Mail on Sunday, met our journalist and was happy to have her photograph taken. She also undertook a follow-up telephone interview.

“Our only concern throughout has been to establish the veracity or otherwise of the extremely serious allegations Miss Delaney Wilson was making and to establish her journalistic pedigree.

“These are the very same questions that RTE and her own publishers, Gill and Macmillan, are still trying to have answered.”

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