RTÉ to seek court permission to report Dáil claims

State broadcaster RTÉ will seek High Court permission on Tuesday to report Independent TD Catherine Murphy’s full Dáil comments about businessman Denis O’Brien’s dealings with IBRC.

The fresh salvo in the legal row was confirmed by RTÉ last night in a bid to “report on the matter as comprehensively as possible, as early as possible”.

Ms Murphy made her comments in the Dáil on Thursday. Despite the remarks being made under Dáil privilege, which, under article 15.12 of the Constitution means they can be reported without the threat of legal action, Mr O’Brien’s lawyers believe the information is covered by an existing temporary injunction.

This injunction against RTÉ business editor David Murphy was made on May 21 and is due to be finalised next Friday, June 5, at 10.30am.

The reason for the two-week delay is because it has still to be decided what aspects of the judgment — including details of the case — will be redacted, and as the High Court is currently on a fortnight’s leave, Friday is the next date it sits.

However, in light of Ms Murphy’s comments on Thursday, RTÉ confirmed last night that it will seek permission to report full details of what she said three days earlier, on Tuesday, as this is technically a different case due to Dáil privilege and that some information may not be subjudice.

A spokesperson for RTÉ said:

“Every effort will continue to be made to report as comprehensively as possible, as early as possible, within the limits of the law.”

It is understood that RTÉ is also taking legal advice on whether to appeal the original injunction.

Separately, Mr O’Brien’s lawyers have told the website broadsheet.ie it facesan injunction for publishing Ms Murphy’s Dáil comments.

The video and transcript are also on oireachtas.ie, but Leinster House officials have “no plans” to take them down.

Meanwhile, a constitutional lawyer has suggested Mr O’Brien may need to go to the European Court of Human Rights to prevent TDs and senators from discussing the matter under privilege.

Barrister and UCD lecturer Paul Anthony McDermott said this is because the courts are unlikely to rule against parliamentary privilege, meaning he may have to put in the application to protect his privacy as there “does not appear to be a remedy under Irish law”.

He said the row is “unprecedented” and will have wide-reaching consequences.

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