THE Press Ombudsman has decided not to uphold a complaint by Derek Quinlan that an article in the Sunday Independent on 28 July 2013 was a breach of Principle 5 (Privacy) of the Code of Practice for Newspapers and Magazines.
Mr Quinlan complained that the article described him as a "dead man walking," which he said was clearly linked to his health and a recent operation he had undergone.
He also complained that the article disclosed that he was recuperating from the operation at a named hotel in the south of France.
He said that revealing where he was staying was an invasion of his privacy, as was the newspaper 'secretly spying' and photographing him.
The newspaper responded that Mr Quinlan's role and position during the Celtic Tiger years, the fallout from the recession and his current circumstances were sufficient to make coverage of his standard of living a matter of public interest, and that neither a reporter nor a photographer had approached him in France as he was in the company of his wife and children.
It said that the phrase to which Mr Quinlan objected was only part of a longer direct quotation from the UK magazine Private Eye, and that the full text of the quotation taken from the magazine and replicated in the article was "dead man walking financially" and was not, therefore, a reference to his health.
It also said that information about Mr Quinlan's operation was already in the public domain.
Although the complainant was obviously offended by the publication of this material, there was insufficient evidence to support his complaint that the material the newspaper published was in breach of Principle 5 of the Code.
In these circumstances, the complaint is not upheld.
20 December 2013
Appeal to the Press Council
This decision of the Ombudsman was appealed by Mr Quinlan to the Press Council. The Press Council at its meeting on February 1 decided to uphold the decision of the Ombudsman.