Businessman Denis O’Brien’s action against a Dáil committee over speeches made in the House concerning his banking affairs has been fixed for hearing in November.

High Court deputy master Angela Denning yesterday fixed November 29 for the hearing.

On the application of Eileen Barrington, for Mr O’Brien, and Sara Moorhead, for the Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges and the State, Ms Denning also made directions for exchange of legal submissions between the sides.

Both sides have liberty to call witnesses in the case but have not indicated so far if they will do so or, if they will, whom they intend to call.

In his proceedings initiated in June 2015, Mr O’Brien claims there is a “clear public interest” in the courts determining whether Dáil utterances by Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy, and Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty, in May and June 2015 respectively, effectively determined his legal action against RTÉ aimed at restraining publication of details of his banking affairs with State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

The Dáil committee later decided neither TD had breached standing orders governing debates in the Oireachtas in their remarks.

Mr O’Brien claims the committee and the State permitted the utterances be made in breach of his right to fair procedures, his rights of privacy and access to the courts and in breach of standing orders regulating debate in the Oireachtas.

This amounted to “unwarranted interference” by the Oireachtas with the operation of the courts “in a purely judicial domain”, it is alleged.

Mr O’Brien alleges utterances by Ms Murphy on May 6, May 27, and May 28, 2015, and by Mr Doherty on June 9, 2015, forced him to concede in the High Court on June 10, 2015, that the entire script which he earlier sought to prevent RTÉ publishing, and which he had successfully injuncted, was by then in the public domain.

Mr O’Brien alleges, as far as he is aware, the Committee on Procedures and Privileges received no submissions from either TD about his complaints before making its findings and, if it had, he was given no opportunity to respond to such submissions in breach of his right to fair procedures.

The claims are denied.


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