Friday 23 February 2018

Court rules O'Brien can appeal over Dáil remarks

Businessman Denis O'Brien. Photo: Tony Gavin
Businessman Denis O'Brien. Photo: Tony Gavin

Businessman Denis O'Brien has got permission to appeal directly to the Supreme Court over the dismissal of his case against the Dáil and State over statements made by two TDs in the Dáil about his banking affairs.

Mr O'Brien is also appealing an order requiring him to pay the estimated €1m legal costs of his failed High Court action. His appeal will run in tandem with a separate Supreme Court appeal by former Rehab CEO Angela Kerins against the rejection of her challenge over her treatment at two Dáil Public Accounts Committee hearings into payments to Rehab.

An appeal to the Supreme Court may only be brought if that court considers a case raises issues of general public importance meriting such an appeal or the court considers an appeal is necessary in the interests of justice. A three-judge Supreme Court has agreed to permit Mr O'Brien an appeal on grounds of the importance of the issues raised. The appeal is against the clerk of the Dáil, the Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges and the State.

His proceedings arose from statements made in summer 2015 by Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty after Mr O'Brien got court injunctions restraining RTÉ publicising information.

In her High Court judgment dismissing the case last March, Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh held that what Mr O'Brien sought was prohibited by the separation of powers under the Constitution and would have a "chilling effect" on parliamentary speech into the future.

Irish Independent

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