Sunday 18 February 2018

Journalist claims she got idea for GAA show in 2004

Tim Healy

NEWSPAPER columnist Fiona Looney told the High Court yesterday she got the idea for the TV reality show 'Celebrity Bainisteoir' while watching a match in Croke Park in June 2004.

She was giving evidence on the sixth day of a legal action for alleged breach of contract and damages taken against her and RTE by Patrick Kinsella, a businessman of Callohill, Newtown, Co Wicklow, who says the idea was stolen from him. RTE and Ms Looney deny the claims.

The hearing has been adjourned until next Monday when it is expected to conclude.

In reply to questioning from Mr Kinsella, Ms Looney said it was only last week that she first saw Mr Kinsella's idea for the show.

She said she was at a Leinster football quarter final in Croke Park in June 2004 when the idea first came to her for the show.

Ms Looney said she mentioned the idea to her husband, who shared an office with Darren Smith of Kite productions, who liked the idea and got in touch with her that same month.

She said the idea was submitted to RTE in August 2004.

It was turned down when submitted by one production company but subsequently another company put forward the idea to RTE and it was accepted, she said.

Counsel for Ms Looney applied to have the case struck out because of cost and because there had been no evidence from Mr Kinsella to contradict Ms Looney's evidence.

Mr Justice Birmingham said there were still witnesses to be heard but added it would not be necessary for Ms Looney's counsel to be involved in the case until judgment was delivered.

Mr Kinsella, representing himself, told the court he wrote up his idea for the programme, to be called 'Top Team' or 'Top Coach', in 2006 and also secured copyright for it that year.

He rang RTE in June/July 2007 about his idea. He got a meeting with commissioning editors the following spring, where he was told his idea was "interesting, but unfortunately it was a non-runner".

Irish Independent

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