Saturday 17 March 2018

Father sues Doonbeg Lodge after his three young kids appeared on promotional brochures without consent


Ray Managh

The father of a family that holidayed at The Lodge at Doonbeg, in pre-Trump days, was shocked to find his children featuring on promotional brochures for the golf and hotel complex, a judge was told today.

William Hamilton, counsel for Mark Field’s three children, seven-year-old twins Zach and Dylan and their sister Sienna (10), told the Circuit Civil Court the children had, unknown to their parents, been photographed a number of times while playing at the Co Clare resort.

Mr Hamilton, who appeared with Taylor and Buchalter Solicitors, said the children’s photographs had then found their way into promotional literature for the hotel and onto the hotel’s website.

The photographs had been taken in or about the weekend of July 2 2011 when the boys were aged two and their sister was five.

Mr Hamilton told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that the Field family had been at The Lodge for a short holiday and the pictures had been taken when the children were playing in a private playground at the complex.

He said Mr Field became concerned when, just short of two years after the family’s week-end break, he picked up a brochure in 2013 in a public place and saw that photographs of his children had been used to promote the hotel.

Mr Hamilton said the parents had never given their consent for any photographs to be taken of their children and had been totally unaware that this had happened.

The matter had been raised with the hotel owners at the time and although the brochures had been withdrawn and the photographs taken down from the website there were no signs of an apology forthcoming. The brochures had been in circulation for almost two years.

Mr Field, of the Drive, Oldtown Mill, Celbridge, Co Kildare, had brought legal proceedings on behalf of his three children and an offer of €5,000 compensation for breach of privacy had been made to each child.

“Mr Field is happy to accept the tender of settlement and I believe it is within the likely range of damages that a court would award in relation to an incident of this nature,” Mr Hamilton said.

He said the legal proceedings had been taken only after the defendants failed to “put their hands up” and because of the lack of an apology.

Judge Groarke awarded District Court costs against The Lodge at Doonbeg Limited, Doonbeg, Co Clare, which, since the 2011 incident, was purchased and developed by the now US President Donald Trump.

President Trump will not have to pay for the awards or legal costs which will, most likely, be met under the insurance cover attached to The Lodge at Doonbeg Limited which has its registered office at The Mews, 10 Pembroke Place, Dublin 2.

Mr Trump, since his development of the hotel and golf complex, has been refused planning permission for the erection of a sea wall along part of his golf course and has, since becoming President, complimented local planning authorities for the go-ahead while blaming EU regulations as responsible for blocking construction of the wall.

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