‘Completely Incompatible With A Functioning Democracy’

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From top: Denis O’Brien, Independent TD Catherine Murphy Former Attorney General, Justice Minister and Tánaiste Michael McDowell,

Further to the ‘thing‘.

Tomorrow RTÉ and several newspapers, including the Irish Times and the Sunday Business Post, are expected go before the High Court seeking clarification on whether or not they can publish what Independent TD Catherine Murphy said in the Dáil last Thursday, in light of a interlocutory injunction awarded to Denis O’Brien – against RTÉ – on May 21.

Ahead of this, Cathal MacCoille spoke to former Attorney General Michael McDowell on Morning Ireland this morning.

Cathal MacCoille: “Good morning.”

Michael McDowell: “Good morning, Cathal.”

MacCoille: “This question that, this statement made that the Oireachtas has, to use a word not in the Constitution, has absolute privilege. Two obvious questions for every lay person listening to you, does it have absolute privilege? And should it have?”

McDowell: “Well it’s not very, very clear from the wording of the Constitution to the extent of which that privilege applies to repetition in different circumstances. Yes, the words of parliamentarians are privileged wherever their published but that doesn’t absolutely mean, and I think you have to be clear about this, that a parliamentarian can say anything they like and anybody else, in any circumstance, repeat what they said with absolute impunity. I don’t think that that extreme view is a tenable one.

But I think we’re dealing here with a very different situation. Firstly, can I just go back to what was said before the ad break there. I mean [Labour Party TD] Pat Rabbitte is correct, in one sense, when he said that no court has ruled that the newspapers cannot carry Catherine Murphy’s speech of what she said in the Dáil about Denis O’Brien and his borrowings.

No court has even attempted to deal with that issue, thus far. But a court order made between in proceedings between RTÉ and Denis O’Brien,seemed to have the potential to prevent RTE from revealing the same information that they were concerned to keep confidential, from whatever source RTÉ found it, including Catherine Murphy.

That’s the argument that Denis O’Brien’s lawyers made and it seems to me that where Pat Rabbitte says we are collectively leaping ahead of ourselves  on this issue; there’s a different point to be made. Denis O’Brien’s lawyers have contacted all the media to impress upon them that it would be unlawful to publish material, including Catherine Murphy’s speech. And, I mean, Denis O’Brien’s lawyers went, for instance, to Broadsheet.ie, which is an independent news online service and threatened them and requested them to take down their coverage of her speech by seven o’clock last Friday.

So it’s Denis O’Brien who believes that this order has this effect. It’s his lawyers who are effectively issuing threats to media organisations not to cover speeches, her speech, and that is the crux of the issue at the moment. I wrote on Saturday, in the Irish Times,  that media organisations had a choice. They could either take their own advice and publish what she said, or else go to the high court, which RTÉ and the Irish Times are doing and get clarification as to whether the threat that is made by Denis O’Brien’s lawyers is a valid threat, or not. And I noted that the Sunday Times yesterday published Catherine Murphy’s speech or a large portion of it and they took their own advice.

And the issue now is, was that publication by the Sunday Times, or the publication on Broadsheet, or whatever, was that a contempt of court? And the only person who can decide that, obviously a judge is the only person who can decide that, but it can only be done on a complaint made by Denis O’Brien in essence, that it amounts to a contempt of court and what RTE and the Irish Times are doing is they’re going in to seek clarification of the scope of the order that was made by the High Court in favour of Denis O’Brien against RTÉ..”

MacCoille: “Yes, essentially the position we are in now is one where most of the Irish media have acted on the basis of editorial caution, on legal advice, so therefore the position will become serious, surely, only when a court decides that, yes, Oireachtas privilege is restricted to include, for example, Catherine Murphy’s statements last week which we cannot report, again on legal advice and only on legal advice now.”

McDowell: “The reason that RTÉ and the Irish Times are taking that position, that cautious position, is because of a direct threat to them by Denis O’Brien’s lawyers, of the kind that was made to Broadsheet, saying, ‘you may not do this, it would be a contempt of court if you do it’. And I mean, let’s remember that at the heart of this is the, I believe, overweening ambition of Denis O’Brien to use the courts in this way to silence the media in covering affairs relating to himself. That’s the thing. I mean this…”

MacCoille: “His lawyers are entitled to point out what they wish about a court injunction…”

McDowell: “Oh they can and RTÉ…”

MacCoille: “…of an interlocutory injunction which they have obtained. Are you saying…”

McDowell: “They are entitled to do that, yes, Cathal, but on the other hand, it’s up to media organisations, RTÉ has taken one cautious view, the Sunday Times has taken a less cautious view. Is the Sunday Times in contempt of court? I very much doubt it.”

MacCoille: “In your view, should Oireachtas privilege overrule considerations which, for example, in Denis O’Brien’s case, of the privacy of its financial affairs?”

McDowell: “In virtually every case I believe that is the case. That is the starting point that Oireachtas, the privilege which is attached to utterances in the Oireachtas wherever published should trump the private interests of someone like Denis O’Brien in relation to business borrowings from a bank, yes I do believe that.”

MacCoille: “In terms of the likelihood and it’s obviously a very experienced and learned view in your case but it is only  a view, when you say we’re in dangerous territory, do you believe it’s likely that we’ll be out of that dangerous territory and that Oireachtas privilege will be asserted and accepted by the courts when they, either in the High Court or the Supreme Court, issue rulings.”

McDowell: “Well I think there’s two things quite possible to happen. Firstly, I think the High Court might say, the High Court judge to whom this is brought before, [inaudible], ‘neither I nor the High Court has ever made an order in relation to Catherine Murphy’s speech and, therefore, the threats made by Mr O’Brien’s lawyers…’ ”

MacCoille: “Can I just interrupt you there? Because we’ve had this clarified, as you’ve been speaking. RTE did not get any letter from Denis O’Brien’s lawyers, it was simply acting on the basis of what it understood the injunction to mean.”

McDowell: “Well then that’s fine but I know that Broadsheet.ie, which went ahead and published her speech, did get such threats so RTÉ obviously are operating on the basis of their own internal legal advice and that’s fine. But the Sunday Times took a different view so…”

MacCoille: “But back to what you think, given our Constitution, do you think…

Talk over each other

MacCoille: “Do you think that the likelihood is that the freedom of a TD to speak will be accepted by the courts?”

McDowell: “I think the first thing is that the courts will probably say that the order they already made did not extend, and had no application to the situation of whether or not to cover Catherine Murphy’s speech. I’d say that will be the first position that the courts are likely to make. They haven’t ruled on that issue and their order did not deal with that particular scenario. The second thing I think a court will do is to look, and probably somebody will draw this to the attention of the court, to the reality that the speech is now in the public domain. Her speech is in the public domain and that it would be absurd and futile to order some media in Ireland not to report it or to lay down for them a rubric that would amount to contempt of court – when others are free to do it with impunity. So, I think that, on both counts, it’s quite likely that the media will not be under any court-ordered silence in relation to Catherine Murphy’s speech whenever this matter does come before the courts.”

MacCoille: “Right and just the final point, the obvious point that’s been raised by a number of people in relation to the Mary Lou McDonald case, where her colleagues on the Committee of Procedure and Privileges found that she had abused Dáil privilege but there was no effective sanction, isn’t that a fair point?”

McDowell: “Well, the first thing is that, in relation to sanctions, the Oireachtas has been fairly lax in putting serious sanctions on its members and it has never actually evolved a code of sanctions which are effective, that’s true. But, on the other hand, let’s remember, this is an important point of principle and an important point of public interest. If Denis O’Brien is correct in saying that his financial affairs are, and we can see from the Sunday Times, it’s a kind of order that those financial affairs, the size of his borrowings, etc. If he is correct in saying that this is an entirely private matter, and could not legitimately concern parliamentarians, then we have a very strange situation indeed. I believe that there was a clear public interest in what Catherine Murphy said in the sense, not of public curiosity but of public interest because it is an issue which is important in the context of the various other dealings of IBRC and it’s liquidator. And the last point Cathal, I’d like to make is, if Denis O’Brien believes he’s bringing these proceedings, and making these threats to independent news channels and the like, as a matter of principle, is this a principle that all news organisations – of which he has a commercial interest – are going to abide by in the future. Is it really the case that if INM – the Irish Independent, the Evening Herald, or whatever – find themselves with confidential information about me, you or anybody else, that he’s going to say, ‘oh no, we don’t publish those things’, or is this a case of the rich and the powerful using their legal muscle to attempt to do something which is completely incompatible with a functioning democracy. That’s my view.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: [REDACTED]’s 1.25 Interest Rate

Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Meanwhile…

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A Letter received via email from Owen O’Sullivan, head of litigation at William Fry Solicitors at 6.27pm on Thursday, May 28.

This led to the following email exchange.


6.52pm,
Broadsheet:  “Apologies for the delay. I am John from broadsheet. I am trying to locate our legal person but I think it may be for the High and Supreme Court to decide. Article 15.12 allows all Dáil statements “wherever published” to be privileged.”

7.28pm, Fry: “Thanks for responding. All I’ll say in reply is that there is an injunction in place of which you are on notice, the terms of which are very wide and cover what could be reported about what was said in the Dail by Catherine Murphy. I await a response to the request for a confirmation regarding the article.”

7.40pm, Broadsheet:  “Thank you. Just two more things. Does the High Court ruling supersede Dáil privilege? Also Catherine Murphy has stated (this evening) that the information came from sources other than the court proceedings which you mentioned.”

7.55pm, Fry: “That is for your own legal advisors.”

8pm, Broadsheet: “Fair enough. Do you have a copy of the terms of the injunction?”

8.25pm Fry: “No – but RTÉ reported on it extensively and within its terms so their reports are probably a good source for it…”

Friday 11.05am: Hosting Ireland (broadsheet’s web providers): “We have received a letter from Denis O’Brien’s solicitor William Fry regarding content on your site breaching a high court injunction. ‘As you are hosted on our network we can become responsible if we do not act on this.  We request you please remove this content as soon as possible and confirm.”

11.20: Broadsheet to Hosting Ireland: “Apologies for all this. The speech is protected “wherever published”  by Dail privilege in the constitution.  Mr O’Brien’s solicitors say the High Court ruling supersedes the constitution but the judge never revealed the terms of the injunction.”

All correspondence concluded.

Large tay.

(Photocall Ireland)

149 thoughts on “‘Completely Incompatible With A Functioning Democracy’

  1. Custo

    You would have thought that they would have had a copy of the terms of the injunction

    1. Ms Piggy

      Exactly what I came here to say! I mean, not the central point of this whole sorry saga of course but still…downright hard to believe actually. Surely if William Fry are DOB’s solicitors they would have acted for him in taking out the injunction, so how could they not have it? And also how on EARTH can RTE’s reporting of the injunction be a suggested source for its actual, legally-binding, wording? Mad stuff.

      1. Fergus the magic postman

        It says to me that Fry solicitor’s are chancing their arm.

        I’ve thought all along that the outlets who chose not to publish the speech (on their own advice) were demonstrating far too much caution, & showing Denis O’ Brien and his legal team far too much respect.

        1. Joe the Lion

          In fairness to Rte
          They broke the story and were bound by the injunctions or thought they were. They played by the book which as they manage public money would not be unusual added to the fact that they probably felt the story was stronger than it actually is. I’m a bit surprised actually by the response as there is as yet no proof to show o Briens quid pro quo to those who decided to continue his highly competitive interest rate :)

          1. Carlos Column Inches

            Perhaps once the injunction is lifted the story will be more thoroughly told, perhaps even in evidentiary terms?

    2. Joe

      They had a copy of it for sure and they didn’t provide it as it back up what Broadsheet have replied to them. Contacting the hosting site was their attempt at scare tactics. Keep up the good work guys not many others have the balls to do it and shame in them. Shameeee.

    3. Lilliput The Younger and Lesser

      William Fry would have a copy of the order on file. They did not provide a copy because they are not idiots. You do not provide the enemy with the tools to defend themselves. You let them stew in their own “ignorance” to ensure confusion reigns and hope they are weak enough in the face of a letter from a law firm, to stand down and pull the article. They then did what any solicitor would do, and contacted the body hosting the website to ensure they are seen to be doing everything they can do for their client. At the end of the day they are providing a service, whether they actually believe the order overs the publication of Catherine Murphy’s speech is neither here nor there, their job is to make broadsheet.ie and other news outlet BELIEVE that it does as it is their client’s interest.

      If anything a member of staff at broadsheet.ie should have made it their business to procure a copy of the Order from RTE after it was perfected. I’m sure it would not be beyond them to use contacts to obtain a copy. Given the nature of the Order, you would of thought it would be a prudent step. If I was at the coalface of journalism in Ireland, I surely would have at least attempted to get a copy.

      Don’t get me wrong I hate DOB as much as the next girl, but a measure of reality should be applied to proceedings, and it all appears to be turning into some kind of huge “conspiracy”. DOB is doing what any sane person would do, and to say otherwise is a lie.

  2. Lawes

    Extraordinary that head of litigation in one of Ireland’s premier legal firms would write alleging someone was bound by a court order of which no copy could be produced, in circumstances where that order by his own self-description only bound persons with notice of it.

    How can you have notice of an order until its terms are produced to you?

    1. Dubh Linn

      How can you have notice of an order until its terms are produced to you?

      YESS!! This ^^

      Something rotten in the state of D2. Fair dues to your steadfastness Broadsheet.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        Not only has this story travelled along Rotten Road – it’s now turned onto Incompetence Avenue.

  3. Goosey Lucy

    I’m no McDowell fan, but I think any right- minded person can agree with his assertion that this is “incompatible with a functioning democracy”
    Also- “cybernoelie “?! Lol

  4. bisted

    …heard McDowell on radio this morning and the same thought as always crossed my mind…I really don’t care what this tosser thinks or says about anything.

      1. bisted

        …McDowell could give the other fella lessons in megalomania….and he’s been at it far longer.

        1. martco

          I wouldn’t class him as a megalomaniac…what makes u say that?? You mightn’t like his general stance on life but that’s just name namecalling

          the thing that’s bothering me here is the lack of pursuit to FG’s involvement in all this, it’s super GUBU time and yet it’s all quiet..like they’re just the admins on their bank hol and won’t be back till next week….I reckon all we’re seeing here is the dorsal fin of the thing

          I think Dukes’s latest utterances are telling, he’s softened his language now, off the attack & gone very general with shite like at all times we’ve acted in the interests of Ireland in order to get the “maximum possible return”….that’s not the same as “everyone got the same treatment and pays the same interest” not by a mile

  5. Paddy

    This injunction threat is increasingly looking like a
    Collateral attack on media outside the sphere of O’Briens influence; it should be treated as vexatious

    1. Dubh Linn

      a Collateral attack on media outside the sphere of O’Briens influence

      Wha’ are you actually going on about?

      1. Paddy

        He owns a bunch of titles plus radio stations; and now is clearly trying to gag the others.

        1. Dubh Linn

          Ah, now I get it. I read it as sinister forces that DOBBO cannot influence were instigating the attack on the media.

  6. Fergus the magic postman

    Noel Dolan (@cybernoelie) on twitter is now saying he just found it curious that Broadsheet were the only ones contacted.
    Seemed more to me that he was accusing Broadsheet of lying.

    I’m guessing Journal was also contacted as they removed their piece from what I know.

  7. Daveod

    Well done Broadsheet, great stuff. WRT the actual terms, my understanding is that the Judge hasn’t issued in printed form the terms of the injunction yet.

  8. The Lady Vanishes

    None the less William Fry should have a note of it surely, rather than relying on the other side’s note.

  9. Anne

    Professional and polite response from John there.

    “His lawyers are entitled to point out what they wish about a court injunction…”
    Yeah and I’m entitled to say I’m the queen of fupping England, but saying so, doesn’t make it so does it ?

    I’ve the utmost respect for Broadsheet not cowering to that bully and his bully baters.

    1. Lilly

      Agree, extremely polite in the circumstances. I would have struggled to rein in the impulse to say, please eff off and get a clue.

  10. Carlos the Uncowered

    Broadsheet will win a Pulitzer for this. Not kidding. Clear off some shelf space kiddos.

    Doesn’t mean you’ll be any more commercially viable. sorry to say.

    Seriously though, you’ve stood your ground when the “papers of record” chose to back down.

    Thank you.

  11. Anne

    “Friday 11.05am: Hosting Ireland (broadsheet’s web providers): “We have received a letter from Denis O’Brien’s solicitor William Fry regarding content on your site breaching a high court injunction. ”

    Just seeing that now.. Wow, just wow.

    Why would anyone not believe broadsheet was not contacted.. his lawyers are on stand by threatening everyone and anyone – (From ‘Otis’ on another thread ) —

    http://www.villagemagazine.ie/index.php/2015/05/profile-denis-obrien/

  12. ahyeah

    Year, fair play, Broadsheet. And thanks. You’ve done us all a service with this.

  13. Anne

    I believe that there was a clear public interest in what Catherine Murphy said in the sense, not of public curiosity but of public interest because it is an issue which is important in the context of the various other dealings of IBRC and it’s liquidator.

    Hmmm yeah.. in the context of the various other dealings of IRBC.

    DOB had loans of almost 1 billion and he’s effectively telling the owners of the bank – you and me, that his banking affairs with said bank is none of our business.

    Who’s the judge who granted him the injunction against RTE? A solicitor – Donald Binchy, specialising in property apparently, recently appointed to the high court by Fine Gael. Joke.

  14. ahyeah

    This thing should be pushed to the fupping hilt.We should initiate some sort of crowdfunding initiative to cover Catherine Murphy’s likely massive legal bill, and encourage her to be as aggressive as [redacted]. Not just Broadsheet readers, of course – I mean extend it outwards. This is an issue of massive importance for the whole country.

    1. bisted

      …what legal bill? Seriously, Shatter keeps pursuing his vanity projects and vendettas to the highest courts…he’s lost every time but it won’t cost him a penny.

    2. Anne

      She won’t have any massive legal bill.. she said she got legal advice after her speech in the Dail, and was advised accordingly.

      Threaten and bully people is all he’ll do.. because it seems he doesn’t t want the actual information – the details of his almost 1 billion in bank loans and the dealings of those with IRBC coming out.

      Here –
      Ms Murphy said she had not taken legal advice before making her statement to the Dáil, but had done so subsequently and been advised that she should have “no concerns”.

      http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/o-brien-sends-legal-letter-to-murphy-over-d%C3%A1il-statement-1.2232446

    3. Tony

      Nobody is facing any ‘massive legal bill’ unless you’re trying to suggest that Denis O’Brien has a leg to stand on. Which he hasn’t.

      A rich megalomaniac bully has lost the run of himself and tried to muzzle the media and suppress democracy. Thanks to BS’s stance, the cowardly newspapers and RTE are now finally making a tremulous stand, having initially run away like pussies.

      Thanks to Catherine Murphy, this ridiculous gasbag fatcat is learning that he can not buy off the democratic process.

      1. Anne

        +1

        John deserves an extra large tay too.

        I wouldn’t let DOB’s incompetent skivvies rent much space in my head.. mustn’t be easy when you’re the only one making a stand though, above a bunch of cowards.

        It’s just outrageous carry on from Redacted and his lawyers.

      2. ahyeah

        “unless you’re trying to suggest that Denis O’Brien has a leg to stand on.”

        Certainly not. But he has managed to silence a lot of people in the past (most of whom, I’d bet, were correct too) with the threat of expensive litigation. He cannot afford to lose millions in the courts, but not many others can.

        1. Tony

          Are you, like, a Dobby minion or are you just being pedantic or obtuse here ohyeah? This whole issue is about the threat of legal litigation and how it’s being shown to be nothing more than that. An empty threat employed by a bully to try and scare people away from whatever mucky shenanigans he doesn’t want us knowing about.

          King Canute how are ye.

          1. ahyeah

            Can only assume, Tony, that you didn’t understand my point. Because –>

            “This whole issue is about the threat of legal litigation and how it’s being shown to be nothing more than that. An empty threat employed by a bully to try and scare people away from whatever mucky shenanigans he doesn’t want us knowing about”

            …is precisely what I’m saying. And adding that he’s used his power to do this on countless occasions in the past – and, unfortunately, he’s actually been successful. He’s silenced Sam Smyth, Gene Kerrigan, Eamon Dunphy and several others precisely because he knows they can’t afford to defend themselves against him. Last week, TV3 took Vincent Browne off for the same reason. My suggestion is that whoever’s willing to stand firm against him – and it looks like Catherine Murphy is – should be supported.

            Don’t see how that makes me a Dobbie minion.

  15. ahjayzis

    Much respect Broadsheet.

    We really need a State broadcaster with balls. Whether it’s showering Breda and Iona with dolla bills or prevaricating on vindicating it’s rights against billionaires, there’s really very little point to it if it’s not aggressive about defending itself. Pantigate and this, if not properly dealt with, declares open season for anyone who takes a dislike to anything they say about them.

  16. Fergus the magic postman

    The fact that Hosting Ireland was contacted when BS refused to remove the content, really shows that the bullying is starting to consist of grasping at straws.

  17. Conor

    Superb, and I though that journalism was long dead in this wee country of ours.
    Absolutely loving the resolve you are showing.

    As awful as it is, I keep thinking of the time Veronica Guerin approached John Gilligan on his doorstep. This is in a similar vein, DOB must be livid and cannot find any way to bring her down.

  18. khanfred

    It seems to me at this stage that the legal/PR strategy has massively backfired. Hindsight is of course 20:20, but if he had just let the information come into the public domain and then defended his position on the basis that the information is based on an altered document – presumably he can easily show that the interest rate was on an “at arm’s length” basis – it would all have blown over quickly. Instead, he is approaching a position where he would have difficulty succeeding in a defamation action, such is the (self-inflicted) harm to his personal reputation in the eyes of the general populace. Not good for business reputation either if you are seen as likely to sue at the drop of a hat. If I was in his position, I would withdraw the injunction, release the unaltered letter, apologise for the statements made against Catherine Murphy (making a substantial ex gratia payment to her charity of choice) and then try to fly under the radar for a year or two. At least then he would be controlling the media frame, whereas at the moment he doesn’t. Too much irony here, I know. Start back-paddling soon anyway, because the waterfall is approaching fast.

    1. Odis

      Well precisely, If he hadn’t pulled this egotistical stunt. Everyone would have just shrugged their shoulders and said “Its a great little country to do business in”.

  19. Jdawg

    Jesus. This feels like Berlin 1979 with the Stasi.

    But I sort of like the fact that democracy is being challenged. It will make it stronger. Or so I hope.

  20. Pat

    I am pleased that there is still real journalism alive and well in Ireland. My response to O’Brien is not to buy any products from Topaz. Last two heating oil fills were from one of their competitors, and the Statoil business is no more than 3km from me. The competitor is 30km. I see bundles of the Sunday Indo in the local shop, unsold, ready to be returned, today.

  21. nellyb

    It’s time DOB opened that floodgate and started dishing out the real dirt pre-election.
    Bow to John for being his own man. So refreshing.

  22. Kolmo

    Quick! Buy shares in Broadsheet – there may be a silencing bid (if it is possible to buy shares in BS)

    Well done BS for all this, it’s very interesting to see the machinations of the overly-powerful in Ireland, people got away with a lot of stuff in Ireland over the years because of the lack of scrutiny – keep up the good work to all concerned!

    1. mauriac

      yes.rebuffed by broadsheet they move onto the hosting company.sinister attack on free speech .As Jeanne Added says,” war is coming”

  23. Windy

    Chzzzzzzz ….do you hear that?

    That’s the sound of a large paper shredder in IBRC

  24. Lilly

    I’d like to buy John Ryan a bottle of Champagne and salute his integrity. Congrats and keep up the good work!

      1. Lilly

        Ah no, I have a couple of solicitor friends who are good eggs, sole practicioners or small practices mind you. Wouldn’t be caught dead writing the kind of idiotic bluff we’re seeing here from Fry’s.

        1. Joe the Lion

          Sorry Lilly I meant on that sort of level. I had experience recently that showed me the level of competence in even some of the big name firms is not that high.

  25. francis almond

    I’m finding this all quite puzzling. Denis O’Brien won a super injunction to prevent the reporting of the extremely favorable rates he recieved from IBRC. that’s fair enough isn’t it?? the villain of the piece is the halfwits in IBRC that granted the deal. O’Brien negotiated himself a brilliant deal, get over it.
    Kieran Wallace, Eamon Richardson, Alan Dukes and whoever was overseeing these deals in the department of finance should be the subject of scrutiny not O’Brien

    1. Joe the Lion

      I agree. Except that O’Brien is a bit of a thin skinned ginnet. He’s made it into the story by being censorious

    2. Sam

      You know I find it amusing, how often we call someone ‘half-wit’ for a decision that doesn’t fit with what should happen in honest society.
      However, people said that about many, many events in our past, and there was always a benefit to someone… so although some people would rather be thought of as occassionaly dumb, rather than deliberately dishonest, I tend to lead with the assumption that favours were traded, rather than assume mere incompetence.

      1. Lilly

        @ Sam If Moriarty findings are anything to go by, favours weren’t the only currency being exchanged.

    3. Lilly

      @ Francis If you can’t get it, I’d suggest changing your name from almond to peanut… brain.

      1. francis almond

        get what lily? explain.
        I don’t get the herd mentality of Broadsheet readers on this thread.
        O’Brien is a very fine businessman who knows how to make money. if bribes were paid for the ‘special’ rates he recieved from IBRC somebody had better start unearthing the paper trail.
        if incompetence at IBRC is to blame the finger should be pointed accordingly.

        1. Lilly

          ‘A very fine businessman who knows how to make money’… LOL, keep drinking the kook aid Francis!

          Bank robbers are great at making money too. They should all be lecturing at Harvard MBA program :)

          1. francis almond

            utter drivel lily.
            you might not like the success of the O’Brien empire but try to contain your baseless, small minded loathing of achievement.
            also in your rush to fall in line and hate the rich man you’re missing the point.
            after the collapse of the economy and wholesale fraud that was exposed at the heart of the Irish banking sector 6 years ago we were promised reform.
            now is it incompetence, complicity or fraud within IBRC that gifted O’Brien these deals?

          2. Lilly

            @ Francis – Clearly you and I have very different definitions of achievement. Michael O’Leary, like him or loathe him, is a successful businessman. Denis O’Brien is not. As I said, keep drinking the Kool Aid.

          3. Lilly

            I’d refer you to the Moriarty report but I’m guessing you have the attention span of a gnat.

          4. francis almond

            I’m guessing the only business you do is on the toilet.
            you should have a read of the Moriarty report yourself. O’Brien paid out perhaps £200000 to win a contract he then went on to sell for quarter of a billion.
            that’s not good business, that’s THE business.

          5. Lilly

            You mistake crime for business and that’s fine but don’t expect anyone else to join you in your confusion.

        2. Fergus the magic postman

          Now listen hear mister, just because the majority of us here are not complete idiots, and can see right through the man you call a fine businessman (I call a crooked, dodgy, tax avoiding, soulless bully), it does not make us a herd.

          Most of us would agree that you have a nose on your face too, but that suggest a mentality.

          Fifa’s Step Ladder is a fine business man too, yeah?

          1. Fergus the magic postman

            Correction: *Most of us would agree that you have a nose on your face too, but that shouldn’t suggest a herd mentality*

    4. Otis Blue

      The same Kieran Wallace that’s tasked with overseeing the enquiry.

      You’re not getting this, are you?

  26. Bonkers

    Had to laugh at the legal letter from William Fry which named the offending article as “[REDACTED]s 1.25% Interest Rate”. Ye even have Dinny’s lawyers talking in Broadsheet-speak !

    oh and +1.25 for your steadfast refusal to back down. Not sure when the next awards ceremony is but I’d most definitely say ‘you’re hot’. Fair play to John & the team, you give right minded people hope for our Republic

    1. Joe the Lion

      The leading ginnets of the world fail to contemplate how the “new media” works and how little control they have of the new agenda

        1. Odis

          Indeed, I think the best recent example has been the Ukraine. The likes of John Kerry and David Cameron seem to be still living in the twentieth century.
          If nothing else it makes you realise just how much control they had over vast swathes of people in the past.

  27. Brian S

    I will happily donate latte’s to pay for your legal representation and moneys to pay for server space to host the site

  28. Richard

    The Berlisconiesque actions by O’Brien are staggering. Amazingly bad judgement on his part.

    That said, if he has failed to meet the originally set terms of his loan agreements, the fact that he is trying to stop the matter going public may have significantly more to do with what will happen to him and his companies when this comes to the attention of the Ratings Agencies. It may push his borrowing costs way up, and may even constitute an action that triggers the calling in of his and/or his company’s loans.

    It is also quite normal for business documents in a range of contexts to ask if any form a default on a loan has occurred. If someone does not answer the question correctly, it could invalidate contracts, guarantees, insurance policies etc

    This could be way more serious for him than just ego.

    Well done Broadsheet

    Richard O’Callaghan

    1. Sam

      This would have worked fairly well, if he was dealing with entirely spineless media, like the cautious folks at Montrose and Tara St.
      All it takes is one plucky site to say “The Emperor has no clothes” and he looks ridiculous, and his spinmeister has to go on air and pretend that the streaker was bedecked in Saville Row finery.

    2. bisted

      …I think (hope) Richard is close to the heart of the matter….there is no principle involved…no good name to protect…

    3. Lilly

      A bit like what happened to Tony O’Reilly so? Not that my heart was bleeding for him.

    4. Anne

      That said, if he has failed to meet the originally set terms of his loan agreements

      Short on a few bob at the time maybe..
      God forbid the likes of himself would have to go selling a newspaper or two to cover his loans.
      Different rules for ordinary people though isn’t it.

      1. Joe the Lion

        Just dovetails to your questions on other threads today Anne: a man “from the motor trade” opined to me recently that Topaz would be sipping a lot at the government table when it comes to selling petrol to the guards and other public sector procurements

    5. Otis Blue

      Denis Burlesconi? I like that.

      Silvio had AC Milan. Denis has Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.

      Panem et Circenses.

  29. Frilly Keane

    The World
    As we know it

    Is ûpped

    For years
    Years Years and Years
    I’ve always stayed on the Opposite side to Michael McDowell
    If he said Vote Yes
    I went No
    If he was Anti this
    I was Pro Pro Provo’ind all day and every day

    I may need conflict counselling
    Or whatever tis called

    I dunno ( I’m pretty pissed)
    But Broadsheet,
    Catherine,
    And all the other Don’t Shut Your Dobs

    I’m ringing in sick

  30. rugbylane

    Who wud have thought The Broadsheet would be left standing alone against the Oligarch? If necessary, where do we contribute?

  31. Naoscaire

    I have met both Denis & Catherine in the past. I have worked with Catherine at a local level and was struck by her honesty. I have met Denis in my voluntary work and was uncomfortable by his hungry deameanor.

  32. Windy

    Daniel O Connells first big case was defending the protestant owner of the evening post newspaper who had published stuff about the Catholic association. During proceedings he gave a speech about the importance of the freedom of the press. Here we are nearly two hundred years later with the press been gagged by one of our own rather than the British government.

    Are we moving backwards as a nation?

  33. Tomás Devine

    The problem is in all this conversation nobody has mentioned how red handed members of the board of KPMG in the siteserve deal are and how many other deals now. Interest rates are one thing but media monopoly is a far more a daily hurt to us all and the 100m write off for them as well sickening. Think about it we saved his media empire so he can assassinate our integrity over and over. How many assets did he accumulate at this time considering he up to neck in debt. We are so reliant on financial fraud (terrorism) Davey KPMG !!!! GS who is not in Dublin ? This attack opportunity we have, must claim as many victims as possible but how many go to jail?. But unless we are prepared to attack on all fronts as one…..

    Kudos Broadsheet be our attack dog 90% of people need you.

  34. Truth in the News

    Never mind the Four Courts, The Dail and even Fry’s….
    We are his ultimate master and can decide the future of his empire
    and its media mouthpieces, it is up to the people and they alone, once they
    decide not to buy, read or listen to his publcations and radio stations, that’s it.
    No amount of bullying or financial incentives will over come it…..and its
    now heading that way, talk about own goals, it will go down in the history
    of the country as the greatest…..one could call it the “Trapattoni Effect:

  35. Ben Bulben

    Have I got this right: O’Brien bought SiteServ from IBRC with money he borrowed from IBRC at 1.5%.

    Please tell me I’m missing something here.

    1. Ben Bulben

      And if he bought SiteServ in anticipation of winning Government awarded Water Installation contracts, there is an avalanche of manure coming down the track for O’Brien.

      This makes the Moriarty Tribunal look like a teddy-bears picnic.

  36. scottser

    Broadsheet, you are an inspiration. Dont lose your bottle – we’ve got your back.

    1. Frilly Keane

      Hould’up there
      With yer ‘we’ lark

      Going shoulder ta’shoulder with the likes a’McDowell is a big ask lads

      A big ask

      1. scottser

        your enemy’s enemy and all that frilly. the tax exile is wrong, it doesn’t matter who calls it.

        1. Frilly Keane

          Enemy’s enemy my hole

          Self serving rhymes with ûnt didn’t open his trap until he saw what way the wind was blowing

  37. Sancho

    He didn’t say RTE weren’t contacted- he said they didn’t “receive a letter”. Never denied they weren’t contacted… Obviously the interviewer was spoken to during the interview and told to say that. Have no doubt that the words were carefully chosen. McDowell’s a very smart man- he let RTE away with it.

  38. Finbarr

    Well done broadsheet for standing up and being counted. I know it is not easy to hold your nerve when being threatened by well funded and litigious bullies.

    I personally am disgusted with everything this man has done as highlighted from Moriarty through his tax dodges skipping the country to avoid CGT, one has to suspect there is whole lot more dirty linen to come out yet and that is probably why he is so sensitive about it all. He probably thinks he is a saint because he gives a little back through his charitable work – but I suspect what he gives with one hand he takes-back doubly with the other.

    If the f***er does pursue his legal threats I am also happy to throw in a few bob to see him off.

    Keep up the good work.

  39. Iceman

    I would like to congratulate John Ryan for doing a great job. Standing up to and telling the truth to power is a lonely place in Ireland. Sewer rats have more integrity and principles than the great majority of the MSM , politicians and top professionals in this country. Their only interest is self interest and please don’t mention citizenship.

  40. martco

    got to speak to a good few over the weekend about this…all united in wanting to see redacted get his just rewards and not just words….for example even my oul fella has a Topaz account and says he’s ringing them to cancel this and the heating oil this morning and will make sure he never buys the Indo :) again..I know it’s only something small but still…I think if everyone goes for something off his extensive list of investments it can affect his perception of worth

    again well done Broadsheet and if there’s any trouble today or later I for one will contribute a couple of quid if needed…or protest but I predict that it won’t be necessary

  41. Joss

    Interesting. From http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/courts/high-court/irish-times-should-be-allowed-to-report-on-o-brien-statement-court-hears-1.2234357

    “In court, Michael Cush SC for Mr O’Brien said the media outlets should be allowed to report the comments and he asked the court to vary order to reflect that.”
    “David Holland, for RTÉ, referred to a “spectacular climbdown” by Mr O’Brien.
    However, Mr Cush said the climbdown claim was “not correct” as “absolute consistency” in Mr O’Brien’s position.”
    You see? He wouldn’t dream of contacting Broadsheet or Hosting Ireland. He’s been absolutely consistent.

  42. Peter

    Huge kudos to Broadsheet.ie for standing their ground! I didn’t know about this site until today but it is bookmarked for daily use in future.

    I guess DOB will now be taking his legal team to court for threatening all truly independent media sources when it was never his intention to stop anyone reporting on Dail proceedings. I would be laughing if it wasn’t another indication of how democracy is being subverted by big business.

    I won’t be tuning in to Newstalk, Today FM, Dublin’s 98, Spin 1038 or Spin South West. ‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_O%27Brien’

    I won’t be buying Evening Herald, Irish Independent, Sunday Independent, Sunday World and 50% of the Irish Daily Star, as well as 14 regional titles.
    ‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_News_%26_Media#Ireland’

    and I won’t be buying Topaz oil.

    Hmmm what to do about this Water Bill?

    Anything else I should add to this list?

  43. Peter

    By the way has anyone read

    “Blood Money Billionaire – The Shocking Case Against Sir Michael Smurfit and Billionaire Denis O’Brien”
    author Don McAllister

    I am trying to find it online now but it looks like dynamite, author is a cousin of DOB!

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