Monday 26 February 2018

Ex-GAA star's rugby club membership was terminated after newspaper revelations he attended 'swingers sex parties', court told

Brian 'Spike' Nolan (file picture)
Brian 'Spike' Nolan (file picture)

Ralph Riegal

A former Kildare GAA star said his prestigious rugby club membership was terminated following newspaper revelations he had attended 'swingers' sex parties.

Brian 'Spike' Nolan (49) confirmed he received a letter from Bective Rangers in South Dublin saying his club membership and coaching duties were being terminated.

This followed an article about him in The Sunday World under the headline: "Ex GAA star is the biggest swinger in town."

The plaintiff, with an address at Goatstown, Dublin, acknowledged that he attended "four private occasions" over the course of 18 months with a woman he was previously involved in a relationship with.

Mr Nolan, before Mr Justice Tony O'Connor  at the High Court sitting in Cork, is claiming defamation over articles published by The Sunday World in July 2012 and March 2013.

He is also alleging that his privacy was breached through the publication of photographs taken at those private events.

The newspaper denies all the claims.

Mr Nolan claimed his life was destroyed over the articles which claimed he was involved in organising 'swingers' or wife-swapping parties.

He denied he ever organised 'swingers' parties or that he ever made "a quick buck" from the Irish sex industry.

Mr Nolan insisted he only attended four parties in 2010/2011 because his then-partner was bisexual and she wanted to attend the parties to satisfy her "bi side."

However, in cross examination with Rossa Fanning SC, for the Sunday World, Mr Nolan admitted there was about 18 months between the first and last 'swingers' party he attended.

This was despite Mr Nolan saying he didn't like the parties, wasn't comfortable at them and had only attended because he was in love with his then-girlfriend.

Mr Fanning put it to Mr Nolan that he was "the author of your own misfortune" through attending such parties.

The court heard that Bective Rangers wrote to Mr Nolan on October 14 2015 confirming that his membership was being terminated.

Mr Nolan had been a very successful juvenile coach with the club between 2010 and 2013.

The club told Mr Nolan the termination was "regrettable" but that "there was little choice."

Mr Nolan complained to the court that, even on the opening day of the High Court hearing, people had jokingly mentioned the 'swingers' parties to him.

"It is happening every day. People come up to me and say: 'Why wasn't I invited to one of the parties?' That is the problem now. I get it every day."

Mr Nolan said that some people were simply "slagging him" but others referred to him in a demeaning and humiliating way.

The plaintiff of Goatstown, Dublin acknowledged that he attended "four private occasions" with a woman he was previously involved in a relationship with.

The parties were staged in Dublin, Meath and Cavan with invitees having to bring Euro 30 towards the cost of the property rental.

"I don't have an inner circle of wife-swappers," he said.

"She (his girlfriend) was into it. I wasn't into it. I did love the girl."

"(Eventually) I turned around to herself and I said I don't want this anymore. I want you and that is it."

His then girlfriend invited him to his first party which was attended by around 30 people aged from their 40s to 60s.

"(She) told me she was bisexual and she said she attended the partially specially for her 'bi' side."

He insisted the parties were entirely private.

Mr Nolan said he had posed for a photo at one party with three women wearing lingerie and who had their bottoms turned to the camera.

He was photographed giving a thumbs-up gesture.

"It was (for) pure craic," he said.

He insisted he couldn't remember the name of the photographer and confirmed he only knew four of the approximately 30 people at the party.

Mr Fanning put it to Mr Nolan that, by agreeing to be photographed in such a manner at a 'swingers' party attended by multiple strangers, he had effectively forfeited his own privacy.

Mr Fanning also contended that Mr Nolan was "a newsworthy person" given the publicity he enjoyed over his decade-long GAA career with Kildare.

Mr Nolan also admitted he had attracted "huge publicity" in 2001 and 2002 over a moneylaundering charge and conviction.

"It was a huge mistake. If I could turn back the clock I would. I never set out to harm or hurt anyone," he said.

"But I was stupid, naive and I was easily led."

Mr Nolan said that, after the articles about the 'swingers' parties he had attended, his mother and brother came to his home and told him: "We are done with you."

The plaintiff said he repeatedly apologised to his family for "the shame" he had brought on them.

Mr Nolan also said he was "publicly shunned" by people - and told by his own family that they wanted no more contact with him because he had brought "disgrace down on them."

The former GAA star and rugby coach claimed people were afraid to be seen with him in public because of what he had been associated with.

Mr Justice O'Connor adjourned the case until March 24 next for consideration of written legal submissions and closing arguments.

He directed that the defence pay for the provision of the transcript of the two days evidence.

Online Editors

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