RTE to fight Gallagher's court action over Tweetgate
Published 07/01/2013 | 05:00
RTE is expected to contest legal proceedings taken by former Independent presidential candidate Sean Gallagher over the infamous 'Frontline' Tweetgate affair.
Mr Gallagher has hired one of the highest-profile lawyers in the country, Paul Tweed, to act on his behalf in his proceedings against RTE.
Mr Tweed has acted for a number of high-profile individuals, including Louis Walsh in his recent action against 'The Sun' newspaper.
Mr Gallagher is to ask the High Court for a declaration that the 'Frontline' programme, presented by Pat Kenny on October 24, 2011, was neither objective or impartial or fair towards his interests.
RTE would not comment last night but sources indicated the national broadcaster is expected to challenge Mr Gallagher in his claims, and the organisation has eight days to register an appearance with the High Court.
The programme has been the subject of huge controversy and a number of investigations, including one by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and an internal investigation by RTE.
During the broadcast, which was just a matter of days out from an election, Mr Kenny read out a bogus tweet, which claimed Sinn Fein would hold a press conference the following day with a person who gave a €5,000 fundraising cheque for Fianna Fail to Mr Gallagher.
This suggested that Mr Gallagher had extremely close links to the unpopular former government party – a suggestion that he was keen to avoid throughout the presidential campaign.
It was seen as one of the decisive moments in the final days of the campaign, and Mr Gallagher is understood to be seeking damages for alleged breach of statutory duty, alleged negligence and breach of duty and alleged misfeasance in public offence.
He is also to seek damages from claims from Mr Kenny that he should "get over Tweetgate" and get back to "what he was supposed to be good at".
In a statement, Mr Tweed said he was arranging to issue "legal proceedings against RTE on a number of grounds, including breach of their care of duty of care, negligence and breach of statutory authority".