Thursday 17 October 2019

Estate of deceased politician allowed continue defamation claim against journalist O'Doherty

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Ray Managh

The estate of a dead politician is suing a journalist for defamation. Sean McEniff died two years ago but the executor of his estate will be allowed to continue the defamation claim he had launched against Gemma O'Doherty.

It is understood to be the first time in this country that the estate of a deceased person has been allowed to continue a defamation claim after that person's death.

Eamon McArdle, an accountant who is acting as executor for Mr McEniff's estate, was yesterday allowed by Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court to continue the €75,000 defamation proceedings.

Mr McArdle's application had been made before Judge Linnane earlier this month and the judge had adjourned it to allow for further affidavits to be lodged.

Yesterday, she granted Mr McArdle leave to continue the case on behalf of the estate of the late Co Donegal councillor and hotelier - despite opposition from Ms O'Doherty's legal team.

The matter, which arises from a documentary, 'Mary Boyle: The Untold Story' about the unsolved disappearance of the child in 1977, will now go to a full trial.

It claimed a politician had in effect prevented gardaí from pursuing a particular suspect. The video was posted by Ms O'Doherty on YouTube, where it has been viewed almost 800,000 times.

No particular politician was named in the documentary. But Mr McEniff issued statements five years ago denying that he was the politician.

He issued legal proceedings shortly before his death, and while a libel action would previously have died with the plaintiff, the 2009 Defamation Act allowed for the estate of a deceased person to apply to continue the case.

A date will now be set by the Circuit Court for hearing.

Irish Independent

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