GOOGLE has started removing search results to Irish newspaper stories under EU privacy laws.
The Irish Independent has been told by Google that a court report concerning a university lecturer assaulting a student has been delisted from its search results "in response to certain searches".
The article, published on Herald.ie, concerns the 2010 case involving Dr Frederic Royall, a lecturer in the University of Limerick who appeared before Limerick Criminal Court for assaulting a student, Hooman Reyhani, during a 2007 football match on the university campus.
Dr Royall, who pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Reyhani, causing him harm, later agreed to pay Mr Reyhani €100,000 in compensation.
"We regret to inform you that we are no longer able to show you the following pages from your website in response to certain searches on European versions of Google," said a communication from Google to the Irish Independent this week.
Under a new EU privacy ruling, individuals may request the deletion of web search results based on a person's name.
The 'right to be forgotten' law is intended to apply to published information that is "irrelevant, outdated, inadequate or excessive".
However, an exception may be made for content deemed to be of "public interest".
The action is believed to be the first instance of Google removing access to Irish media stories based on searches that specify named individuals.
Google has not specified the identity of the person requesting removal of the link.
Dr Royall was uncontactable yesterday evening.
Google has received 562 Irish requests for the removal of search results, relating to 1,962 different web links.