The Oireachtas Committee on Procedure and Privileges has ruled Catherine Murphy did not breach Dail privilege by raising the banking affairs of businessman Denis O'Brien in the Dail under privilege.
r O’Brien had called on the Oireachtas to sanction Independent TD Catherine Murphy for raising his banking affairs in the Dail.
William Fry solicitors, acting on behalf of Mr O’Brien, wrote to Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett to lodge a formal complaint against Ms Murphy for acting “recklessly” and showing “total disregard” to the judiciary by disclosing information that was the subject of a court order.
Mr O’Brien also personally wrote to Mr Barrett, as did Siteserv chief executive Sean Corke complaining about statements made by Ms Murphy in the Dail.
On May 28 and 29, Mr O’Brien’s legal firm wrote to the Ceann Comhairle after Ms Murphy used Dail privilege to disclose what she claimed was the businessman’s banking arrangements with Irish Bank Resolution Company (IBRC).
Mr O’Brien was granted a court injunction against RTE stopping it from broadcasting details of his personal bank affairs.
“In the space of less than one week, Deputy Murphy chose to disregard the terms of a court order which she had accepted was bound by and (...) proceeded to disclose significant personal, private and confidential banking information pertaining to our client under the guise of deliberate and manifest abuse of Dail privilege,” the May 29 letter stated.
“Deputy Murphy purports to justify the abuse on grounds of public interest yet you must accept in doing so she sought to place her interpretation of the public interest over the adjunction of the High Court,” it added.
More than a week earlier, on May 20, Mr O’Brien wrote to Mr Barret complaining that “no deputy should be permitted to deliberately abuse parliamentary privilege particularly when the content of such abuse is inaccurate”.
He said Ms Murphy’s information is based on “information and material that the deputy knew to have been improperly obtained”.
“This is all the more concerning when there has been a series of similar instances and yet nothings seems to be happening to curtail it,” he added
Mr O’Brien ended his letter by asking what steps the Ceann Comhairle would take to ensure deputies will not be allowed to “deliberately and knowingly” breach Dail privilege.
The letter came a week before Ms Murphy used Dail privilege to disclose what she believes to be the personal banking arrangements Mr O’Brien had with IBRC.