Wednesday 18 September 2019

Senator sues paper over FG colleague's remarks

Paudie Coffey
Paudie Coffey
John Paul Phelan. Picture: Frank McGrath
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

A Fine Gael senator is suing a newspaper over comments made about him by one of the party's ministers.

Senator Paudie Coffey, himself a former minister, is suing the 'Kilkenny People' over remarks made about him by local government minister of state John Paul Phelan.

Mr Coffey claims he has suffered damage to his reputation because of the publication of the article.

Mr Coffey is not suing Mr Phelan personally over the comments, which were first made in a press release sent to the newspaper.

High Court listings show the Senator has taken his case against Iconic Newspapers Limited trading as 'Kilkenny People and reporter Sam Matthews. The case is set to be heard over three days starting on November 20.

In the last government, Mr Coffey was the minister of state for housing and planning in the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.

The newspaper article which is the subject of the High Court action was published in January 2016.

It came in the run-up to the general election in February of that year.

Mr Coffey was not re-elected to the Dáil in that election but was then nominated to the Seanad by the previous Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.

Mr Phelan was appointed as a minister of state in the Department of Housing by Leo Varadkar after he was elected Taoiseach following the Fine Gael leadership contest.

Irish Independent

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