Saturday 20 January 2018

€50k must be paid to former GAA star to allow appeal

Brian Nolan Picture: Courtpix
Brian Nolan Picture: Courtpix

Tim Healy

A former Kildare county footballer awarded €310,000 over a newspaper article describing him as the "king of the swingers" must be paid €50,000 within 36 days as a condition of the paper being allowed to appeal the award, the High Court ruled.

The Sunday World must also pay Brian Nolan another €50,000 on the anniversary of that payment as another condition of the paper being allowed bring its appeal, Mr Justice Tony O'Connor said.  He also directed that Mr Nolan be paid most of the costs of the four-day hearing of the case.

Last week, the judge found Mr Nolan had been grossly defamed in two articles published in 2012 and 2013.

He rejected the paper's arguments the articles were in the public interest.

A native of Newbridge, now living in Goatstown in Dublin, Mr Nolan (49), who played senior football for Kildare in the 1990s, sued over a July 15, 2012, article which described him as "the king of the swingers" and featured photos of him alongside women in lingerie whose faces were pixellated.

He also sued over a second article on the sex trade in Ireland published on March 3, 2013, under the headline "Ireland exposed" and also including photos of, and references to, him.

The case returned before Mr Justice O'Connor on Thursday to deal with costs and the issue of a stay pending appeal.

Rossa Fanning SC, for the Sunday World, said he should only be awarded two of the four days of the case because he had not succeeded in a separate claim for breach of privacy.

Paul O'Higgins SC, for Mr Nolan, said his client should get all the costs.

Mr Justice O'Connor ordered the paper to pay all the costs save for half of one day's costs bearing in mind that privacy did become an issue. 

In relation to the stay on the award pending appeal, Mr Justice O'Connor said Mr Fanning had put forward 13 grounds of appeal which he (judge) would not go into because "it is no business of mine".

It had been argued by Mr Fanning that the Sunday World, as part of the Independent News and Media Group, was a "mark" for damages, he said. However, it was also argued Mr Nolan had lived with this matter for five years.

In the circumstances he was going to order that €50,000 be paid to him by 36 days during which time the paper said it would lodge its appeal. Another €50,000 would paid on the anniversary of that payment, he said.

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