FINE Gael TD Lucinda Creighton is being sued by developer Michael O’Flynn over defamation claims.
O’Flynn, a developer who is dealing with NAMA, is bringing the High Court action after comments by Ms Creighton in which she criticised her own party’s links to developers.
Were the legal action to succeed, the Dublin South East TD could be made bankrupt and would then have to resign as a TD.
It is understood Mr O’Flynn lodged papers in the High Court in July. The case, which would take place before a jury, could be heard before next summer.
Mr O’Flynn launched the action against Mayo-born Ms Creighton after her outspoken comments at the MacGill Summer School in Co Donegal. In a speech at the annual political forum, she railed against her own party’s links to developers and fundraising.
She said: “We cannot, on the one hand, condemn Fianna Fáil for entertaining developers in the Galway tent, while on the other hand extend the biscuit tin for contributions from high-profile developers.”
She also said that Fine Gael needed to avoid being “Fianna Fáil-ite,” with her subsequent media comments fuelling tensions within her own party and highlighting her strained relationship with leader Enda Kenny.
Ms Creighton, elected to the Dáil for the first time in the General Election of 2007, was one of a number of TDs involved in a heave against Enda Kenny earlier this year. Following the leadership contest she was dropped from the party’s front bench.
It is understood that Ms Creighton did not mention Mr O’Flynn by name, but she did make comments about a NAMA developer attending a Fine Gael fundraising event.
Mr O’Flynn sponsored a golf tournament raising funds for Fine Gael at the K Club earlier this year.
The case will also be a test of new defamation laws which have been enacted and will be watched closely by members of the Oireachtas.
Dáil Deputies enjoy absolute privilege when speaking in Leinster House, but were Mr O’Flynn’s case to succeed it could effectively limit the manner in which elected representatives comment on certain issues.
Mr O’Flynn is managing director and chairman of O’Flynn Construction, which is based in Cork. His company has transferred debts of almost €1bn to NAMA.
It is understood Ms Creighton intends to fight the defamation action but she declined to comment on the case yesterday.
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