WELL known Tralee businessman, developer and former nightclub owner Seamus O'Halloran has claimed in court that he was labelled a "thief, criminal, crook and a deviant" in an online blog that was written by a company director who claimed that Mr O'Halloran owed his company over €19,000 in unpaid bills.
At Tralee Circuit Civil Court last Friday Mr O'Halloran, trading as O'Halloran Group of Ballyard, Tralee, brought a countersuit for defamation against Cork-based PR firm Fuzion Communications who had taken legal action against Mr O'Halloran seeking payment of debts, the Cork company claimed, it was owed by the former Rose of Tralee director.
Greg Canty and Deirdre Waldron, trading as Fuzion Communications on the South Mall in Cork, sued Mr O'Halloran for €19,712 they claimed was owed to them for professional marketing, public relations and graphic design work they carried out for Mr O'Halloran's Tralee businesses Val's Bar and Restaurant and Fabric nightclub in 2009 and 2010.
Mr O'Halloran subsequently lodged a counter- claim alleging that he was defamed on the internet by one of the directors of Fuzion Communications' firm in an online blog posted on the PR firm's website.
Counsel for Seamus O'Halloran, Mr Michael Munnelly, said his client had been defamed in both the original online blog, which has since been removed, and in 52 pages of comments posted on the site by various individuals, subsequent and in response to the blog.
Mr Munnelly said that in these 52 pages of comments Mr O'Halloran had been variously described as "a thief, a criminal, a crook and a deviant."
Following legal argument, Judge Donagh McDonagh adjourned the matter to allow more time for both sides to prepare their cases.
Judge McDonagh who does not normally preside over Tralee Circuit Court, said he was disappointed he would not get to hear the bulk of the evidence in the case.
"It's a pity it's not ready to go on because I'm finished in Kerry today and I'd love to have heard it," he said.
On Friday evening, several hours after the court sitting had concluded, Fuzion Communications issued a statement declaring that, following talks between both legal teams, the company had taken "a considered" and "very practical" decision to drop the court all their court proceedings against Seamus O'Halloran and would not be proceeding any further with the case.