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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Denis O'Brien

Here is the article that Denis O'Brien's lawyers didn't want you to see last Thursday

On foot of clarification in the High Court today, republishes the article we first posted last week relaying Catherine Murphy’s Dáil comments.

LAST THURSDAY AFTERNOON, just after 3.30pm, reported on comments made by independent TD Catherine Murphy in the Dáil about what she called “extremely favourable interest rates” received by businessman Denis O’Brien from IBRC when repaying loans. 

Within one hour, we received a letter from O’Brien’s legal team threatening with an injunction if the article was not removed by 5pm.

The reason for the threat was that the content of the material uttered in the Dáil by Murphy “breached the terms of a High Court injunction dated 21 May, granted by Mr Justice Binchy” in the case of O’Brien v. RTÉ.

We removed the article temporarily while we attempted to gain clarification on whether the detail contained in Murphy’s speech was subject to that High Court order already made against RTÉ’s reporting on the issue. As the terms of that injunction had not (and indeed, still have not) been made public, the issue was not a straightforward one of Dáil privilege, but of potential contempt of court.

It required further clarification from Justice Binchy - clarification which he has given today in the High Court.

In light of that, below is the full text of the article published by last Thursday, as written by Órla Ryan:

Denis O’Brien got ‘extremely favourable’ interest rates from IBRC, Dáil hears

INDEPENDENT TD CATHERINE Murphy has claimed businessman Denis O’Brien received “extremely favourable interest terms” from IBRC when repaying loans.

Speaking under Dáil privilege this afternoon, Murphy said she understands O’Brien was paying 1.25% in interest – when IBRC (formerly Anglo) “could and arguably should have been charging 7.5%”.

She said that as there are outstanding sums upwards of €500 million, the rate he paid is “not an insignificant issue for the public interest”.

Catherine Murphy TD / YouTube

Murphy has been looking into O’Brien’s links to the sale of Siteserv for some time.

The company was sold to the O’Brien-owned Millington by IBRC in 2012 for €45 million. IBRC had given the company a loan of €150 million, meaning the bank wrote off €105 million and the State got back less than €50 million. At the same time, shareholders were paid €5 million.

Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

In April Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced that KPMG would carry out a review of all IBRC transactions that resulted in a loss of over €10 million to taxpayers, including the sale of Siteserv.

As the officials in question – Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson – are also the IBRC special liquidators, retired High Court judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill has been appointed to oversee any potential conflicts of interest.

Murphy and 33 other opposition TDs have signed a motion on the Dáil order paper calling for a debate into the proposed review.

Siteserv has previously written to Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett asking for comments made by Murphy about its sale to be amended in the Dáil record.

Court ruling: Media free to report Dail comments about Denis O’Brien’s debts>

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