Dismissing Denis [Updated]


This afternoon.

Leinster House, Dublin 2

Catherine Murphy (right), with Roisin Shoirthall her co-leader in the Social Democrats, and Pearse Doherty (above left) with Sinn Féin colleagues from left: Rose Conway-Walsh, Mary Lou McDonald TD and Eoin Ó Broin TD speaking to the media after businessman Denis O’Brien lost his appeal to the Supreme Court over statements made in the Dáil about his banking affairs.


From top: Denis O’Brien; Justices of the Supreme Court in NUI Galway today; Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty; Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy

This morning.

The Supreme Court (sitting in Galway).

Denis O’Brien has lost his Supreme Court challenge against a failed legal action in relation to statements made in the Dáil about his banking affairs.

The businessman claimed the two TDs in question were guilty of an “unwarranted interference” with the operation of the courts.

Mr O’Brien’s High Court action arose from remarks made by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy under privilege on the floor of the Dáil during a debate in 2015 about the sale of SiteServ.

By revealing details about his dealings with the IBRC, he claimed the two deputies effectively decided a separate case that was before the courts.

An injunction was in place at the time in relation to an RTÉ programme.

Supreme Court Judgement Due Today (Newstalk)

Catherine Murphy said:

“The CPP found that I had not abused parliamentary privilege in making a speech which was very squarely within the public interest and that I acted in good faith at all times. I am pleased that both the High Court and now the Supreme Court have upheld that decision.

Whilst I am pleased that the courts have recognised the constitutional protections afforded to those of us who may find ourselves in the position of having to use parliamentary privilege for a matter of public interest, it is hugely incumbent on us, as elected representatives, to recognise that such privilege must only be exercised with great responsibility.

The public interest must always be to the fore and that is what has underpinned everything I have done to date.”


Following the Supreme Court’s decision and further to a High Court jury dismissing claims by Mr O’Brien last Friday that March 2015 articles about him in the Sunday Business Post were defamatory…

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty told Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One:

I think this is a big week for freedom of parliament and parliamentary debate but also a big week for freedom of the press and, you know, I’ve thought about this over the last couple of days.

If both the judgement against the Sunday Business Post and now against the House of the Oireachtas went the other way – there would be a serious chilling effect in relation to what could be said, both in the press and on the floor of the Dáil in future.

“And I think remember as well, Seán, during this time, there was a period, during this time, when both Catherine Murphy and myself were putting information on the public record, that the press themselves were questioning whether they could report that information.

“So this judgement today makes it very, very clear, if anything good comes from this judgement: it is the fact that parliamentary privilege is sacrosanct, it cannot be tested before the courts.

“The decisions of the CPP in determining whether a deputy or a senator has abused parliamentary privilege cannot be tested before the courts. And that now clarifies it.

“And there’s an onus on us, as elected representatives, to use that privilege very, very selectively, in which we do. As I said, I had other information in relation to Denis O’Brien that I didn’t put on the public record.

“And indeed we have information that is given to us, and I welcome information like that, that is of a highly sensitive and confidential nature, that we decided not to put on the public record because it’s viewed by us not in the public interest and would be, in our view, an abuse of parliamentary privilege.”

Listen back in full here



Read the 42-page judgement in full here

Thanks David Kenny

Top Pic: NUI Galway

Previously: [REDACTED]’s 1.25% Interest Rate

‘Deputy Murphy Is Out Of Order’

Always A Privilege

‘It’s Important People Stand Up For Democracy’

Keeping Print Alive

Morrissey And Mar

‘Completely Incompatible With A Functioning Democracy’

Murphy’s Law

Sponsored Link

37 thoughts on “Dismissing Denis [Updated]

  1. eoin


    Supreme Court in special sitting in Galway delivers its ruling early.


    Having sided with Angela Kerins last week, the same judges have sided with the Oireachtas this week so DOB is nursing a second defeat in five days, looks like DOB also lost his appeal on costs but need to see full ruling.

    Looking forward to the additional rulings in Angela Kerins’ case on 8 April.

  2. eoin

    Mary Carolan reports in the IT

    “Mr Justice Frank Clarke said the court considered the challenge Mr O’Brien seeks to bring over the CPP’s handling of the complaint would amount to an “indirect and collateral” attack on utterances in the Dáil which is impermissible under the Constitution.”

    “indirect and collateral” attack on utterances in a Committee is what Angela Kerins appeared to have established in her appeal last week. Last week’s ruling by the Supreme Court is looking very very dodgy but the Supreme Court may clarify matters with its next ruling in April on the matter.

    1. Panty Christ

      Slight nuances in ruling versus public accounts committee and Denis O’Brien.
      O’Briens case was based around cpp not disciplining TDs for abusing privilege and asked court to intervene. Original high court judge ruled against O’Brien while stating that the cpp ought to take a long hard look at itself and they way it operates while admitting court had no role in this.
      Keirns case basically states that the pac didn’t make keirns fully aware that she was there voluntarily and could have refused to answer Qs.

      1. LeopoldGloom

        The folks in the street knew she there voluntarily though. Her legal representative should’ve known she was there voluntarily. It’s a nonsense.

    2. Clampers Outside!


      Will it be Halloween horror or Christmas delight… bring on April 8th! :)

  3. Catherine costelloe

    He jumped from the cock to the donkey after throwing a wobbly.
    Good enough for him.

  4. eoin

    The judgement is available via Orla O’Donnell at RTE here


    “Mr. O’Brien was granted leave to appeal against that costs order but consideration of that question was left
    over until the substantive appeal had been determined. Those costs issues are not, therefore,
    dealt with in this judgment”

    What costs is DOB looking at here? €500,000+ or are we in €1m+ territory again.

    Given the substantive appeal went in favour of the Oireachtas, and the judgement is pretty blunt, suggesting DOB’s case wasn’t “novel” [the threshold for the State to pay DOB’s costs], this could be another expensive week for someone whose net wealth is probably around the €200m mark.

      1. Johnny

        He should pay the states costs too,the hypocrisy is breathtaking,Tom Lyons referenced his comments made under privilege on another post.
        The comments about his highly usual banking arrangements got drowned out by legal actions,it was stated that he enjoyed a below 2% interest rate on substantial borrowings.

        ‘The tweet came just two days after judges ruled Mr Trump’s golf club must pay the Scottish government’s legal costs following a two-year court battle between the pair over a major North Sea wind power development‘

        1. eoin

          The costs in DOBvDAIL are reported by Orla at RTE to be “in excess of €1m”. If DOB can argue his case is “novel”, the State may be ordered to foot the cost. What’s “novel” about DOB’s thin skin taking offence at the only place left in this country which hasn’t been chilled by his litigation.

          BTW, your friend Trina found a vanity publisher!
          She claims to have been discussed in the Dail (one reference from Mark Daly eight years ago!). She is soooo important and pivotal. She even made the Clintons’ list!


          1. Johnny

            RTE’s US hack has a big piece on it-refuse link it:)
            Your pal Mooney lists his work for O’Dea almost 10 years ago as his “qualification’ for being an expert-is there no statute of limitations !
            Regarding,Trina her claim to fame is allegedly, singlehandedly enacting the GFA and getting Geeerrrrry a US visa.
            I don’t go many US/Paddy things as I’m bored tears by her hero Mitchel flogging his books,grinning like a fool while working for Kelly bro’s Teneo,basically monetarizing the peace process,or making lots and lots money out of it.

  5. eoin

    Is anyone going to mention the irony of the State funding DOB’s charity, Front Line Defenders, to the tune of millions. The charity is chaired by DOB and is supposed to campaign for, amongst other things, ehem, freedom of expression.

    Leo should tell him to fupp off and that he’s not getting any more taxpayer funding.

    1. Ian-O

      ”Leo should tell him to fupp off and that he’s not getting any more taxpayer funding.”



    2. Giggidygoo

      Sure who would supply the crowd control barriers.?
      Sure who would provide broadband?
      Sure who would provide services to the NCH?
      And they’re the ones we know about.

    1. Frilly Keane

      That was meant ta hang from Iano’s above there

      Just in case ye thought I was talking ta’ meself like

  6. Giggidygoo

    The Journal isn’t allowing comments on this or the earlier SOB story ‘due to legal reasons’. Two cases, two judgements. Done and dusted. The fear though is with The Journal.

  7. Toe Up

    I didn’t realise that Christopher Biggins (centre) and Future Brett Kavanaugh (top right) were on the Irish supreme Court.

    1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

      Ahhhh! Frank Clarke has amazing hair. It’s not clear from that photo.

      Also, legal judgment not judgement.

  8. Bonkers

    This was a case of Denis o’Brien trying to gag members of the Dail. What is most bizarre is it was a member of the Dail who went to bat for Denis in the High Court- none other than aspiring Minister for Justice Jim o’Callaghan TD. We literally had a TD down in the High Court double jobbing as a barrister and arguing against the parlimentary privledge of TDs- you couldn’t make it up.

    Maybe someone might ask Jim o’Callaghan his thoughts on losing this case?

    1. Cathal

      Dobby and good name are two things that will never be seen together. Pound shop Bond villain.

Comments are closed.

Sponsored Link