From top: Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, Paula Mullooly, Head of Legal Affairs RTÉ; Press Ombudsman Peter Feeney
Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, Dublin 2.
Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan speaking at the Reform of Defamation Law Symposium.
Mr Flanagan told the symposium.:
“Defamation law in Ireland essentially seeks to balance three different rights which are protected under both our Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to freedom of expression, the right to protection of good name and reputation, and the right of access to justice.
We might perhaps add a value: that of promoting the importance of truth in public comment and debate, as far as that is reasonably possible, while also recognising and remembering the vital role in a democracy played by an independent media.
I expect the defamation review to be completed shortly, with options for reform presented before end of March 2020.”
Minister pledges to reform defamation law in 2020 (Law Society Gazette)
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris
The High Court has directed Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to disclose the names and addresses of gardaí against whom he believes there is evidence of involvement in a smear campaign against a former colleague.
Ex-garda Keith Blythe had brought legal proceedings seeking to find out the identities of former colleagues who allegedly defamed him in messages circulated via WhatsApp and Facebook [in September 2018].
…The judge directed that the information be provided to Mr Blythe’s legal team before 1pm today, so that defamatory proceedings may be issued against the proposed defendants prior to the Friday expiry of a time limit in which to launch defamation cases against them.
Harris ordered to disclose names he believes involved in smear campaign (RTE)
Full page ad in today’s newspapers from NewsBrands Ireland
In a statement, the Chairman of NewsBrands Ireland said “NewsBrands Ireland along with many other organisations, made submissions to the Department of Justice in January 2017.
“To date, the review has not been completed,” Vincent Crowley said. He called on the Department to complete it “as a matter of urgency”.
“At a time when democratic values are being threatened and undermined throughout the world, it’s in the best interest of democracy that our defamation laws are updated,” he added.
Calls for urgent reformation of Irish defamation laws (RTÉ)
From top: Claire Byrne arriving at the Four Courts on Friday; Nicky Kehoe leaving the courts on Friday.
A former Sinn Féin councillor and IRA gunman has been awarded €3,500 in his High Court case for damages against RTÉ for defamation.
Nicky Kehoe, who is now a political manager for Sinn Féin, had sued over comments made about him during a live radio debate in October 2015.
The jury found the contents of the broadcast meant that Mr Kehoe was not a fit person to be involved in the democratic process.
However, it found the broadcaster was only 35% responsible for the defamation and Joe Costello was responsible for 65%.
RTÉ lawyers say they plan to appeal the case and said it is possibly the lowest award of damages ever made in a defamation case.
Kehoe awarded €3,500 in defamation case against RTÉ (Vivienne Traynor, RTE)
Following the settlement between Lance Armstrong and the Sunday Times, the paper’s chief sports writer David Walsh and deputy sports editor at the time Alan English, now editor of the Limerick Leader tweetz:
Lance Armstrong Payback For Sunday Times ‘Libel’ That Wasn’t (Robert W. Wood, Forbes)
A Cork developer told the High Court yesterday he was “absolutely shocked” by comments made about him by Minister of State Lucinda Creighton.
Michael O’Flynn, chairman and managing director of the O’Flynn Group, alleges he was defamed in a speech by Ms Creighton, then a backbencher and now Minister of State for European Affairs, titled Standards in Public Life and Accountability, at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal.
In her Glenties speech, Ms Creighton had said there could be no room in Fine Gael for “the cute-hoor politics” which she said had tainted Irish public life like “an incurable cancer . . . We cannot be satisfied with low standards in high places.”
She said: “We cannot, on the one hand, condemn Fianna Fáil for entertaining developers in the Galway tent, while on the other hand extend the biscuit tin for contributions from high-profile developers, who are beholden to Nama.”
In her subsequent interview on RTÉ’s News at One, Ms Creighton said what made her uncomfortable was that the golf classic was “supported by a developer who is one of the top-10 indebted developers to Nama in the country”.
Asked if she was referring to Michael O’Flynn, she said “yes”. She said: “That’s the one really that stands out.”
*large popcorn, diet coke, jelly snakes, maltesers*
(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)