Irish media challenges Denis O'Brien injunction

Mr O’Brien acted to prevent media covering details of his personal finances mentioned in parliament last Thursday

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The Irish Times newspaper and the Republic of Ireland’s national broadcaster RTÉ will today ask the Dublin high court to lift an injunction obtained by media tycoon Denis O’Brien to stop them reporting a short speech in the Dáil, the Irish parliament.

Mr O’Brien acted to prevent media covering details of his personal finances mentioned in parliament last Thursday. Independent MP Catherine Murphy discussed the purchase of one of Mr O’Brien’s companies and referred to loans with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

The opposition Fianna Fáil party called for lawyers for the Irish parliament to join the High Court challenge to allow the media to report comments made under parliamentary privilege.

That’s the principle that politicians can say anything in parliament and not be sued for libel. It also gives the public and media have a right to report what is said there. But the injunction was deemed to outweigh the privilege.

Mr O’Brien is reckoned to be the Republic of Ireland’s richest man with a fortune estimated at £5bn, and is the biggest shareholder in Independent News and Media, the company that formerly owned The Independent.

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