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Teacher told to pay €50k for remarks


COURT: Michael O'Flaherty

COURT: Michael O'Flaherty

COURT: Michael O'Flaherty

A TEACHER at Loretto College, Foxrock, has been ordered by a judge to pay €50,000 damages to a Dun Laoghaire jeweller he made defamatory remarks about.

It was the maximum that Judge Jacqueline Linnane could have awarded Breasal O'Caollai, who told her that what Michael O'Flaherty had said about him could have ruined his business.


Mr O'Caollai, of Royal Terrace West, Dun Laoghaire, told the Circuit Civil Court that O'Flaherty had told staff in the National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire – of which he was a director – that he had effectively taken money from the tills.

Barrister Michael Binchey, counsel for Mr O'Caollai, said that on three occasions O'Flaherty, of Northumberland Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, had "made utterances which meant Mr O'Caollai was an incompetent businessman on the take and engaging in dishonest practices".

Mr Binchey said O'Flaherty had asked museum staff members Bianca Drumm and Linda Carroll "Does Breasal take money from the coffee shop takings?" and "Does he take cash from the tills?".

O'Flaherty said he had been "aghast and astonished" when he had learned of the "complete fabrication" of the statements he was alleged to have made to Ms Drumm and Ms Carroll about Mr O'Caollai. None of them was true.


He said that at one stage as treasurer he had recommended tighter control of funds and lodgements.

Judge Linnane, awarding Mr O'Caollai €50,000, said Ms Drumm and Ms Carroll had no reason to fabricate or invent their account of what had happened.