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Councillor sues SF activist for defamation


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A Fine Gael councillor and constituency ally of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is suing a Sinn Féin activist over what the High Court heard was a defamatory statement made on Facebook.

Cllr Ted Leddy (32), who holds the council seat in Castleknock once held by Mr Varadkar, claims Sinn Féin activist Alan Donnelly defamed him in a Facebook post which he says led to a death threat and other "odious matters".

Mr Donnelly, a brother of Sinn Féin Dublin West Dáil candidate and Mulhuddart councillor Paul Donnelly, denies the claims.

Mr Donnelly brought an application before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds yesterday requiring Mr Leddy to provide a statutory declaration that he (Leddy) had been fully advised of his option to have the matter resolved by mediation.

The judge dismissed the application saying it was "premature and heavy handed".

John J Morrissey BL, for Mr Donnelly, said his side asked the Leddy side to consider mediation under the 2017 Mediation Act, requiring a solicitor to advise a client to consider the option as an alternative to much more expensive court proceedings. The act requires the solicitor to provide a client with information about the advantages and benefits of mediation.

Mr Morrissey said, despite correspondence before Christmas, his side had only learned yesterday morning that Mr Leddy's client had been so advised. However, it was still his case the Leddy side had not complied with the requirement to provide a statutory declaration.

Willam Maher BL, for Mr Leddy, said that before Christmas the Donnelly side had been advised Mr Leddy was in the process of filing the statutory declaration. But a few days into the new year, this court application, which also sought a strike out of the proceedings, was brought.

This was "very curious" as the other side was seeking settlement talks over a statement on Facebook by a known political activist against a known councillor in which he was defamed, he said. Yet no defence to the defamation proceedings had yet been filed.

The judge struck out the application.

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