Wednesday 13 December 2017

Murphy uses Dáil privilege to raise O'Brien finances

Catherine Murphy: raised financial details that RTÉ was prevented from airing
Catherine Murphy: raised financial details that RTÉ was prevented from airing
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Independent TD Catherine Murphy used Dáil privilege to raise details about businessman Denis O'Brien's financial affairs with IBRC, which were the subject of a recent High Court injunction.

Mr O'Brien successfully stopped RTÉ from broadcasting the details which Ms Murphy raised in the Dáil.

The businessman was joined by IBRC in his case against the national broadcaster.

Ms Murphy's comments were made as she sought to put a bill before the Dáil which would give the Comptroller and Auditor General the power to audit IBRC.

The Kildare North TD noted that Taoiseach Enda Kenny suggested the Comptroller and Auditor General should investigate IBRC's sale of Siteserv to Mr O'Brien.

Special liquidator Kieran Wallace is currently heading an investigation into the Siteserv sale and other IBRC transactions.

Last week, Mr O'Brien was granted a High Court injunction preventing RTÉ broadcasting a report relating to his private and confidential banking affairs with Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

Mr Justice Donald Binchy ruled the details of his judgment cannot be published until certain parts of it have been redacted after the case comes back before him in June.

The judge read his conclusions in court but following submissions from counsel for both sides, he ruled the judgment should not be released pending the redactions.

The three-day injunction hearing was told Mr O'Brien wanted to restrain publication of the broadcast report because it breached his privacy rights and would cause him incalculable commercial damage.

IBRC, which brought a separate but related application before the court, supported his case.

RTÉ opposed it on grounds including the right to freedom of expression and public interest. It also argued the courts should be slow to interfere with legitimate journalistic judgment.

It said Mr O'Brien's suggestion the report could have been run without naming him would result in a boring and sterile story.

Irish Independent

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