PRWeek reported that Irvine had been called in by Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell last week to manage the media attention surrounding his resignation. Irvine worked alongside Peter Watson, a litigation expert at the Glasgow law firm Levy & McRae, who was also advising Purcell.
An article in the Sunday Herald at the weekend criticised Irvine's role in handling the press and ran with the headline: ‘How PR advisers made a crisis out of a drama.' The article claimed Irvine's approach was ‘so old-school it was prehistoric', and was ‘aggressive' and ‘clumsy'.
However, Irvine told PRWeek: ‘I have lodged a complaint with the Sunday Herald following publication of the article. It has made allegations about the PR strategy but it has no idea about the hidden issues involved. We were also not given a right of reply. The Sunday Herald has attacked me personally and it has no reason.'
He added: ‘I am asking for an apology and correction and am prepared to go to the Press Complaints Commission if I don't get it.'
The newspaper also alleged Irvine and Watson had gone on holiday to the Cayman Islands for ‘a week's holiday at a five-star hotel' while the story still dominated the media. This has since been removed from the online article following a complaint from Watson.
Irvine added: ‘This allegation is terribly damaging. I have in fact been in the Cayman Islands for work, as has Peter. Also, Steven Purcell left the UK before me and I am here working for a mere three days. It's a long way to come for a holiday.'
Purcell's resignation was initially attributed to ‘exhaustion', but more recent press reports have included allegations of drug use as a contributing factor to him leaving his role.
The Sunday Herald could not be reached at the time of publication.