RTÉ has apologised in the High Court to businessman Declan Ganley over a Prime Time programme broadcast almost 12 years ago.

Mr Ganley had sued RTÉ over the special programme aired on 27 November 2008.

He claimed it gravely damaged his reputation and character, causing him distress and embarrassment. He sought damages, including aggravated and exemplary damages.

The High Court was told this morning that the matter had been settled.

As part of the settlement, an apology was read to the court by Senior Counsel Paul O'Higgins on behalf of RTÉ.

In the apology RTÉ said that in the course of the programme, reference was made to the death of Kosta Tribecka and an image was shown of his body.

It said RTÉ accepted unreservedly as stated on the programme that the death of Mr Tribecka was wholly unrelated to Mr Ganley or any business related to him.

RTÉ apologised to Mr Ganley for any hurt or distress that may have been caused.

No further details of the settlement were revealed in court.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton struck out the proceedings. Mr Ganley, who is based in Galway, was not present in court but observed the proceedings via video link.

A statement issued by his solicitors said Mr Ganley was very satisfied with the apology received from RTÉ, together with the financial agreement reached.

Johnsons solicitors said their client regretted that he had to initiate defamation proceedings in order to vindicate his reputation and had to prosecute the claim to this stage before reaching a settlement.

But it continued, Mr Ganley was delighted with the result and the formal apology.

In a statement afterwards, RTE said it stood over the journalism of the programme 'Citizen Ganley'.

It said it was happy to clarify one aspect of the programme, as highlighted in the statement read in court.

RTÉ also said it was glad that after a decade of legal argument, a mutually beneficial agreement had now been reached on the matter.