Irish President Michael D Higgins
Irish President Michael Higgins (Reuters)

Leading financial magazine Forbes has apologised to Irish president Michael Higgins for publishing a story in which he was described as an "acknowledged homosexual".

The New York-based publication, known for its rich list, said it sincerely regretted the error. "Forbes is issuing an apology to President Higgins in a separate correspondence," the magazine said.

The author, Cork-based American writer David Monagan, said he felt "horrible" for "the worst mistake" of his professional life.

"The story is that I made a mistake, for which I apologise from my heart. It was under deadline pressure and is inexcusable," he said.

Higgins, who has four children and is married to Sabina, an actress, appeared in a passing reference in an article about Samantha Power, who has been appointed US ambassador to the United Nations.

It read: "The current president of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, is a poet, acknowledged homosexual and nearly as outspoken as his predecessors."

Eamon Gilmore, Ireland's deputy prime minister and a former colleague of Higgins in the Labour Party, said: "I understand it was online and it was taken down - I think that tells us everything we need to know about that article. It's probably more a source of embarrassment for the journalist who wrote it than for anyone else."

Forbes added: "Mr Monagan is part of's contributor network and the article in question did not appear in Forbes magazine."

Forbes uses fact checkers to substantiate stories after individual freelancers submit work for publication.