Minister defends TDs subjected to Denis O'Brien's legal action

Minister defends TDs subjected to Denis O'Brien's legal action

The Minister for Transport today said he supports the TDs who are the subject of a High Court action by the businessman Denis O'Brien.

Mr O'Brien is taking action against members of the Committee on Procedures and Privilege, after it rejected his claims that Independent TD Catherine Murphy abused Dáil privilege to detail his alleged financial arrangements with the former Anglo Irish Bank.

He has also taken action against the Oireachtas and the State.

Minister Paschal Donohoe, however, said he supports the Committee members involved, and said parliamentary privilege must be respected.

"My view is that the privileges that are available to members of the Oireachtas are an absolutely essential cornerstone … to how the Oireachtas and how democracy operates." he said.

"Public representatives, when they are elected … have abilities available to them in terms of speaking about things that matter to our country."

Independent TD John Halligan is one of the deputies on the receiving end of Denis O'Brien's legal action.

He said that it is a grave development, and that he is confused about the logic behind the case.

"It's a grave interference with the democratic system here in Ireland," said Deputy Halligan.

"In my opinion what Denis O'Brien is doing is taking the Dail into Court, based on something that was said to a member under privilege that we really cannot do anything about," he said.

"We are not in a position, and indeed all of the CPP have said that. We're not in a position to say that what Catherine Murphy said was right or wrong. So I don't see the point in what Denis O'Brien is doing."

Fianna Fáil's Micheal Martin shas also said that Denis O'Brien's proceedings are a 'threat to democracy'.

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