Ireland's richest man: RTÉ fails to get injunction lifted

Denis O'Brien
Image caption Businessman Denis O'Brien took out a court injunction to stop RTÉ from reporting details on his personal finances and relationship with former Anglo Irish Bank

Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has failed to get an injunction granted to Ireland's richest man lifted.

Denis O'Brien obtained the injunction to stop RTÉ from reporting details of his personal finances and relationship with the former Anglo Irish Bank.

Last week, a judge granted permission for the media to report details about Mr O'Brien's finances made under privilege in the Dáil (parliament).

RTÉ lawyers said as a result there was no need for the injunction to remain.

The injunction was granted to Mr O'Brien last month in connection with a planned broadcast by RTÉ regarding certain information relating to Mr O'Brien's relationship with the nationalised Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), which was formerly Anglo Irish Bank.

The media mogul's fortune is estimated to be around £5bn.

Following the granting of the injunction, the purchase of one of Mr O'Brien's companies was discussed in the Dáil.

The comments were made by TD Catherine Murphy under privilege.

In response to her comments, lawyers for RTÉ and the Irish Times returned to the high court to seek clarity over whether her remarks could be reported in light of the injunction.

A judge told the media organisations that he never intended nor could he order any interference with what a TD may say under privilege in the Dáil.

Lawyers for RTÉ had returned to court on Wednesday to get the injunction lifted, arguing that information Mr O'Brien had tried to restrain was now in the public domain.

However, on Friday, the judge ruled it would remain in place but said he would amend the order to take into account developments since it was originally made.

Mr Justice Donald Binchy said it was necessary the injunction remained in place to prevent the broadcast of anything not already in the public domain or material relating to IBRC's legal advice.

He added that it was not unreasonable to infer that RTÉ wished to leave open the possibility that it may publish information or documents concerning Mr O'Brien between now and a full hearing of the matter, unless restrained by a court from doing so.

The court will hear submissions next week on how the order should be amended.

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