Denis O’Brien seeks court injunction against RTÉ

Businessman Denis O’Brien is seeking a High Court injunction against RTÉ preventing what he says is a planned broadcast report about certain details in relation to his private banking affairs.

Michael Cush, counsel for Mr O’Brien, was given permission yesterday by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan to serve at short notice his intention to seek the injunction on RTÉ.

The application was made ex-parte with only one side represented and the matter comes back before the judge today.

Mr Cush handed in two sealed envelopes to Mr Justice Gilligan: the first of which contained a letter from RTÉ to Mr O’Brien outlining the fact that work is being carried out by the news department on a report to be broadcast today but with no time given for when it will go out.

The letter says the report will state certain matters and asks certain questions — but at no point is it suggested that there is any wrongdoing on anybody’s part which would be relevant to the public interest, Mr Cush said.

In the second letter written by Mr O’Brien, it refers to details of particular sums of money representing his indebtedness to Irish Bank Resolution Corporation but it is all clearly referable to his personal banking facilities and it is “undoubtedly confidential”, counsel said.

It is private information and RTÉ must have known that and that there is no countervailing interest that it be disclosed, Mr Cush said.

The urgency of the matter was that the broadcast was due to go out today but counsel was only seeking short notice service of Mr O’Brien’s intention to seek an injunction.

Mr Justice Gilligan said he was satisfied to grant “short service” and ordered the papers should be served immediately on the defendant.

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