Europe

Ireland: Billionaire businessman Denis O'Brien loses Dáil appeal

Denis O'Brien Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Denis O'Brien is considered to be a billionaire

Denis O'Brien has lost his appeal over statements made in the Irish parliament about his banking affairs.

Mr O'Brien appealed a finding that the courts had no power to intervene on how the Dáil's (Irish parliament) Committee on Procedure and Privilege dealt with the statements and his complaints.

The Supreme Court found the challenge amounted to an indirect and collateral attack on utterances made in the Dáil.

It found that this was impermissible under the Irish constitution.

The Irish businessman was granted an injunction against RTÉ in April 2015, in relation to a proposed broadcast about his banking affairs.

He claimed Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty revealed information on the floor of the Dáil which made the injunction pointless.

The Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges found the TDs had not breached the relevant rules.

Mr O'Brien wanted a declaration that the committee's finding was based on an error in interpreting the relevant Dáil standing order.

He also claimed there was no evidence the TDs were acting in good faith.

'Constitutional rights'

He claimed the High Court got it wrong when it ruled the courts were not allowed, under the Constitution, to adjudicate on how the committee dealt with the matter.

He said that ruling meant members of the Oireachtas could subvert court orders and flout their own rules, leaving people in his position with no remedy.

Mr O'Brien claimed his constitutional rights were deliberately damaged by the deputies and said that making a complaint to the committee was his only remedy.

He claimed the committee breached its own rules in how it dismissed his complaint and that meant the court could step in.

The committee argued that the deputies did not have to give notice of what they were going to say and the two TDs had not breached the injunction granted to Mr O'Brien as it was never intended to apply to deputies on the floor of the House.

They argued it was not conceivable that the court could interfere with the committee's actions.

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