Sunday 25 February 2018

Senator wants Oireachtas to join High Court action with media

Fianna Fail Senator Marc MacSharry
Fianna Fail Senator Marc MacSharry

Political Correspondent

FIANNA Fail Senator Marc MacSharry has written to Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett seeking an emergency meeting of the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission.

Mr MacSharry is seeking to have the Oireachtas join the High Court action involving RTE, two other media outlets and Denis O'Brien, which is due to take place this morning.

The national broadcaster and the other media outlets are seeking to clarify if a court injunction prevents them from reporting comments made by Independent TD Catherine Murphy about Mr O'Brien's banking arrangements with Irish Bank Resolution Company (IBRC).

The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission has to agree to have the Oireachtas legally represented in the High Court case.

In an email to the Ceann Comhairle sent late last night, which has been seen by, Mr McSharry said the media has been prevented from reporting on Ms Murphy's comments which he described as a "gross violation of the independence of the Oireachtas".

"Many colleagues from all parties and none and I as a member of the Oireachtas Commission have concluded that the Houses of the Oireachtas should be represented in court this week at these applications," he said.

"This seems necessary not only to secure the freedom of the media to publish and report on our business and utterances, but also to assert the constitutional separation of powers which in the normal course would reserve the regulation of the utterances of members to the Houses themselves," he added.

"I am available to attend any meetings or (given the house is not sitting) participate in a conference call of the commission should it need to be called in order to facilitate a decision in relation to Oireachras representation in court"

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