High Stakes: O’Brien court proceedings against Oireachtas to be discussed in High Court this month – TheLiberal.ie – Our News, Your Views

High Stakes: O’Brien court proceedings against Oireachtas to be discussed in High Court this month


Denis O’Brien’s action against the Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges will be discussed in the High Court later this month when a date for the hearing may be set.

Mr O’Brien claims the Dáil committee breached his consitutional rights and interfered with the role of the courts by ruling that Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty and Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy had not abused Dáil privilege when making speeches concerning the dealings of O’Brien.

When initially questioned by O’Brien over speeches made by Catherine Murphy, the C.P.P said that they could not determine whether accusations made by Murphy were true or false concerning the sale of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation to Siteserv, a company owned by Mr. O’Brien. An investigation was underway at the time into certain I.B.R.C. transactions.

He has sued members of the Oireachtas personally, including Joe Corey (F.G), Martin Heydon (F.G), Paul Kehoe (F.G), Dinny McGinley (F.G), John Lyons (Labour), Emmet Stagg (Labour), Sean Ó Feargháil (F.F), Aengus Ó Snodaigh (S.F) and John Halligan (Independent), as well as naming Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett and Attorney General Máire Whelan in the case.

Lawyers for Mr O’Brien said they may seek a date for hearing when the case is mentioned in the High Courts again on 28 October.

Lawyers for Ireland said the issue against the State was a very novel one and not straightforward.

Senior Counsel Conor Power said there were “other actors in the picture”.

The Dáil has since passed a motion to support the committee and allow it defend the action.

The committee has instructed the case be vigorously defended, in particular, the absolute privilege of members of Dáil Éireann in respect of remarks made in the House.

Mr O’Brien is seeking a declaration the ten TDs on the committee are guilty of an “unwarranted interference with the operation of the courts and have caused or permitted a breach” of his constitutional rights, relying on Article 40.31.1 of the Constitution to respect, defend and vindicate the personal rights of the citizen.

However if O’Brien should win the case, it would decimate freedom of speech in the Dáil as big businesses would have the power to sue when questioned or mentioned in Dáil proceedings following his example.

Share this story with a friend

Share this story

Tell us what you think on our Facebook page