Thursday 27 July 2017

'Swinger' articles ruined my life, claims former Kildare GAA star

Brian 'Spike' Nolan is taking action at the High Court Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited
Brian 'Spike' Nolan is taking action at the High Court Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts Limited
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A former Kildare GAA star said his prestigious rugby club membership was terminated after newspaper revelations that he attended so-called swingers' sex parties.

Brian 'Spike' Nolan (49) said he received a letter from Bective Rangers in south Dublin saying his club membership and coaching duties were terminated.

This followed an article about him in the 'Sunday World' under the headline: "Ex GAA star is the biggest swinger in town."

The plaintiff, with an address at Goatstown, Dublin, said he attended "four private occasions" over the course of 18 months with a woman he was then in a relationship with.

Mr Nolan, before Mr Justice Tony O'Connor at the High Court in Cork, is claiming defamation over articles published in July 2012 and March 2013. He is also alleging his privacy was breached through publication of photographs taken at those events. The newspaper denies all the claims.

Mr Nolan claimed his life was destroyed over the articles, which claimed he was involved in organising swingers', or wife-swapping, parties.

He denied he ever organised swingers' parties or that he ever made "a quick buck" from the Irish sex industry.

Mr Nolan insisted he only attended four parties in 2010/2011 because his then-partner was bisexual and she wanted to satisfy her "bi side".

However, in cross-examination with Rossa Fanning SC, for the 'Sunday World', Mr Nolan admitted there was about 18 months between the first and last swingers' party he attended.

This was despite Mr Nolan saying he didn't like the parties, wasn't comfortable at them and only attended because he was in love with his then-girlfriend.

Mr Fanning put it to Mr Nolan that he was "the author of your own misfortune".

The court heard that Bective Rangers wrote to Mr Nolan on October 14, 2015. Mr Nolan had been a very successful juvenile coach between 2010 and 2013.

The club told Mr Nolan the termination of his membership was "regrettable", but that "there was little choice".

Mr Nolan complained to the court that, even on the opening day of the High Court hearing, people had jokingly mentioned the swingers' parties to him.

"People come up to me and say: 'Why wasn't I invited to one of the parties?' That is the problem now. I get it every day."

Mr Nolan said some people were simply "slagging him", but others referred to him in a demeaning and humiliating way.

The parties were in Dublin, Meath and Cavan, with invitees having to bring €30 towards the cost of property rental.

"I don't have an inner circle of wife-swappers," he said. "She [his then-girlfriend] was into it.

"I wasn't into it. I did love the girl. [Eventually] I turned around to herself and I said, 'I don't want this any more. I want you and that is it'."

His then-girlfriend invited him to his first party, which was attended by around 30 people, aged from their 40s to 60s.

He insisted the parties were entirely private.

Mr Nolan said he had posed for a photo at one party with three women in lingerie who had their bottoms turned to the camera. He was photographed giving a thumbs-up gesture. "It was pure craic," he said.

He insisted he couldn't remember the name of the photographer and confirmed he only knew four of approximately 30 people at the party.

Mr Fanning put it to Mr Nolan that, by agreeing to be photographed in such a manner at a swingers' party attended by multiple strangers, he had effectively forfeited his own privacy. Mr Fanning also contended that Mr Nolan was "a newsworthy person", given the publicity he enjoyed over his decade-long GAA career with Kildare.

Mr Nolan also admitted he had attracted "huge publicity" in 2001 and 2002 over a money laundering charge and conviction. "It was a huge mistake. If I could turn back the clock, I would. I never set out to harm or hurt anyone," he said.

"But I was stupid, naive and I was easily led."

Mr Nolan said that, after the articles about the swingers' parties he had attended, his mother and brother came to his home and told him: "We are done with you."

Mr Nolan also said he was "publicly shunned" by people.

He claimed people were afraid to be seen with him in public because of what he had been associated with.

Mr Justice O'Connor adjourned the case until March 24 for consideration of written legal submissions and closing arguments. He directed that the defence pay for the provision of the transcript of the two days' evidence.

Irish Independent

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