Thursday 22 February 2018

Publication of Denis O’Brien’s ‘personal banking affairs’ with IBRC would be damaging to businessman, court told

High Court injuction hearing continues today

Denis O’Brien
Denis O’Brien

Tim Healy

THE damage to businessman Denis O'Brien from the publication of his personal banking affairs with Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) is impossible to calculate, the High Court heard.

Marcus Trench, a banker of long experience, says Mr O'Brien's relationship with banking institutions, including the terms of credit extended to him, would likely be damaged by such disclosure.   It would seriously undermine his bargaining postion with those banks and erode mutual trust, Mr Trench said in an affidavit.

Michael Cush SC, for Mr O'Brien, said in addition to saying such publication was likely to damage Mr O'Brien, Mr Trench, as an independent expert, was saying it was impossible to calculate the damage which would be caused to his client.

Mr Trench only knows Mr O'Brien by reputation but had been asked by the O'Brien side to express his view having read affidavits from Mr O'Brien and those on behalf of RTE, counsel said.

His affidavit was read by counsel in the continuing hearing of an application for an injuction by Mr O'Brien for an injunction preventing RTE from broadcasting a report which he says details his private and confidential banking arrangements with RTE.

Mr O'Brien says this would be a breach of his privacy and is not in the public interest as claimed by RTE.  He also claims that as a matter of principle if it was allowed in this case, It would have implications for whether the private affairs of others could be revealed.

RTE is opposing the application and says the broadcast is in the public interest as the central subject matter is the governance of IBRC, which is in special liquidation by order of the Government.

Mr Cush said adequacy of damages was one of the issues the court had to consider when deciding whether to grant an injunction.   Where it is was impossible to calculate those damages, then this was a ground for granting an injunction.

The hearing continues before Mr Justice Donald Binchy.

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