Friday 16 November 2018

Clients watch firm in legal glare

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Red Flag's clients must now be wondering why this lobbying/public relations consultancy is at the heart of one of the most contentious corporate legal struggles to emerge in Dublin for years - and watching the outcome closely.

The firm was founded in January 2013 by Karl Brophy - a former director of corporate affairs and content development with Independent News & Media (INM) - and Gavin O'Reilly, INM's former MD and the son of the company's former largest shareholder, Tony O'Reilly.

Among Red Flag's directors is former British ambassador to Ireland Ivor Roberts.

"We solve business-critical problems for some of the world's largest companies," the company's mission statement claims.

On the subject of political engagement, it claims: "We have a team of former journalists, political staffers and campaigners who know how to get things done in a world where access to policy makers is ever more limited."

Clients of the company, which has offices in Brussels, Washington and Los Angeles (where Gavin O'Reilly is now based), have included Monsanto, the North American Meat Institute, Irish Distillers and British American Tobacco.

Based in Ely Place, Dublin, Red Flag promises to be the "eyes and ears in Europe" for US-based clients.

"Politicians and business leaders are obsessed with the news cycle," Red Flag claims. "Framing stories in the right way and pitching them to the right journalists can be hugely advantageous."

Karl Brophy started his career as a journalist. While working at the Irish Mirror he was sued for libel by Denis O'Brien, who was awarded €750,000 in damages against the London-based newspaper.

He later worked for INM in South Africa. He was appointed an assistant press officer with Fine Gael in 1996.

Red Flag Consulting made a profit of €456,000 in 2017, according to documents filed with the Companies Registration Office.

Sunday Independent

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