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Musician who claimed book's cover made him look like an 'alcoholic' settles case


Tim Lyons at Ennis Court on Tuesday.

Tim Lyons at Ennis Court on Tuesday.

Last week, Professor Diarmaid Ferriter came out strongly against plans to invite members of the Royal Family to the 2016 celebrations

Last week, Professor Diarmaid Ferriter came out strongly against plans to invite members of the Royal Family to the 2016 celebrations


Tim Lyons at Ennis Court on Tuesday.

A well-known traditional singer who claimed that the cover of a book written by historian Prof Diarmuid Ferriter depicted him as an alcoholic yesterday settled his claim for damages.

At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, a last-minute settlement was reached between lawyers for Tim Lyons and for Prof Ferriter and publishers of the book, Irish Academic Press.

Mr Lyons was suing both Prof Ferriter and Irish Academic Press for defamation and barristers from both sides were ready to proceed with the case with copies of the book in dispute, Prof Ferriter's A Nation of Extremes - The Pioneers in Twentieth Century Ireland, on show in court and ready to give to Judge Gerald Keyes to examine.

Cork native, Mr Lyons and Prof Ferriter were sitting on opposite sides of the court with the case ready to be called on.

However, discussions outside the court resulted in barrister for Mr Lyons, Peter Cline BL, informing Judge Keyes that "the time used has been very productive and terms have been agreed".

The terms of settlement were not disclosed. Mr Cline had earlier told Judge Keyes that the case would take two hours.

In the proceedings, Mr Lyons of Athenry, Co Galway, had claimed that a photo of him with two pints of stout in front of him on the book's cover depicted him as an alcoholic.

The book's front cover photo shows Mr Lyons with his elbow on a bar with two pints of stout and what appears to be a glass of spirits juxtaposed with a photo of pioneers at a public event.


Judge Keyes had previously turned down an application in July 2012 by Prof Ferriter made at Ennis Circuit Court to have the action against him struck out.

Mr Lyons's endorsement of the claim on that occasion stated that the singer believed the photo of him "conveys that he is an alcoholic; that he drinks alcohol to excess; is representative of Irish drink culture which is damaging to Irish society, and that Mr Lyons is part of a disreputable part of Irish society".

In his claim, Mr Lyons stated that the photo was used without consent and was a breach of his privacy.

However, Prof Ferriter in his affidavit previously opened to court stated: "I had no input into the design, layout and assembly of the book cover."

"Further, I had no input into the selection of the photo that is subject matter of the complaint in these proceedings."

A regular on RTE, Prof Ferriter said that the late and internationally regarded designer, Jarlath Hayes chose the photo and designed the cover.

Prof Ferriter contended that "I did not publish anything - defamatory or otherwise - of the plaintiff (Mr Lyons).

"In the circumstances where I have had no association with the design and publication of the book other than its authorship, the plaintiff has no cause of action against me," he said.