Tuesday 23 December 2014

Sean Gallagher brings legal action against RTE's 'Frontline'

Tim Healy

Published 13/05/2013 | 17:33

FORMER presidential candidate Sean Gallagher has brought a High Court action against RTE claiming a "Frontline" debate was unfair and damaged his electoral chances.

 

The court heard today RTE has agreed to file a defence to the action by June 17 next when the case will be mentioned again.

 

Mr Gallagher is seeking a declaration that the October 24, 2011, Frontline debate was "unfair" and allegedly "seriously damaged his electoral prospects."

 

He is also seeking damages for alleged negligence and breach of duty.

 

Once RTE files its defence,  Mr Gallagher's side will then seek disclosure of all documents relating to the programme which was aired during the Presidential race.

 

Mr Gallagher is also seeking exemplary damages arising out of alleged comments by Pat Kenny in realtion to "Tweetgate."

 

In March, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland upheld a complaint relating to the debate in which Mr Gallagher was forced to respond to a fake tweet incorrectly attributed to the official "Martin McGuinness for President" account.

 

Pat Kenny put a tweet to Mr Gallagher which resulted in him admitting he may have collected a donation for Fianna Fáil from a convicted fuel smuggler in Louth in 2006.

 

RTÉ is expected to contest the case.

 

At an Oireachtas committee last month, its director general, Noel Curran, said he did not know if it could be said that the Frontline debate contributed to the election outcome.

 

His solicitor Paul Tweed said yesterday his side hopes the case will be heard ideally before Christmas  but it may be February before it goes for hearing.

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