Forbes magazine has apologized and removed an article from its website which claimed that Ireland’s president Michael D. Higgins is gay.

In a section about Irish presidents the article stated ‘Michael D. Higgins is a poet, acknowledged homosexual and nearly as outspoken as his predecessors.”

The Forbes writer later apologized for the “terrible mistake” and the magazine was forced to take down its story.

Ironically, the original story was a profile of the next UN Ambassador, the Irish-born Samantha Power, and Higgins was only mentioned in passing.

Forbes likely mixed up Higgins with another presidential candidate, David Norris, who is gay and has written and talked extensively about it.

Both men competed for the job of Irish president in 2011. Norris was the original front-runner, but his campaign collapsed amid allegations that he was not sufficiently outspoken against pedophilia.

After being behind for the entire race Higgins won in the end after the leader in the polls, Sean Gallagher, had a disastrous final debate performance.

Forbes has made the story not reachable now when clicked on, but Google search still has the line referring to Higgins as “an acknowledged homosexual.”

Higgins, a member of the Labour Party, was widely hailed as an outstanding Minister for the Arts when in party political life. He and wife Sabrina have been married for forty years and have four children.

The writer of the piece David Monagan an American  author and journalist resident in Ireland  told the Irish Independent: "I made a terrible mistake and I apologise to Michael D Higgins who I have respect for," he said.

"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.

"I have written millions of words about Ireland and this is the worst mistake I have ever made," he said.