Sunday 18 February 2018

Court grants injunction to businessman Denis O'Brien against RTÉ

Mr O’Brien said he was “delighted” with the decision
Mr O’Brien said he was “delighted” with the decision

Tim Healy

Businessman Denis O'Brien has been granted a High Court injunction preventing RTÉ from broadcasting a report relating to his private and confidential banking affairs with Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

A judge also granted an order to IBRC restraining RTÉ from broadcasting any communications or matters of privileged legal advice relating to its customer relationship with him.

Mr O'Brien said he was "delighted" with the decision.

He added: "I took this case to protect my rights as a citizen. I believe that every citizen is entitled to privacy in their financial affairs.

"I have been particularly encouraged by the number of people who have contacted me to communicate their belief that confidentiality in a customer-banking relationship is of absolute importance.

"I believe that the circumstances of today's decision should be a matter of the gravest concern for the RTÉ Authority as the national broadcaster."

Mr Justice Donald Binchy ruled the details of his judgment cannot be published until certain parts of it have been blacked out, 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 agreement between lawyers for both sides about redactions.

David Holland SC, for RTÉ, expressed concern about the scope of the injunction order, and asked that the order be limited to stopping publication of information in the possession of RTÉ.


Mr Justice Binchy said he was not disposed to qualifying the order he made or to be lured into expanding on what might be published.

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 application, 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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