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Irish religious watchdog taking The Da Vinci Code publishers to High Court

Dialogue Ireland is suing Random House for defamation over a reference to the group in the Dan Brown book Origins.

The case relates to an alleged defamatory passage in Dan Brown's Origin.
The case relates to an alleged defamatory passage in Dan Brown's Origin.
Image: Arne Dedert DPA/PA Images

RELIGIOUS WATCHDOG DIALOGUE Ireland is taking the publishers of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code to the High Court, over the author’s latest novel which references the group. 

Origin is Brown’s fifth installment in his Robert Langdon series and focuses on the Palmarian Church, a spinoff Spanish-based Catholic group with its own pope.

It’s understood that Dialogue Ireland founder Mike Garde is taking publishers Random House to the High Court over a mention of the group in Origin.

In one part of the book, one of the characters references Dialogue Ireland in a passage discussing opposition to the Palmarian Church.

It’s understood that this reference was carried in the first editions of Origin, but was removed in subsequent paperback editions.

In a statement from Garde’s solicitor, Paul Tweed, he said: “I would confirm that defamation proceedings have today been issued on behalf of Dialogue Ireland Trust against Random House Group, the publishers of Origin by Dan Brown.

In the absence of satisfactory proposals from the publishers, our instructions are to vigorously progress these proceedings to a hearing before the High Court at the earliest opportunity.

‘Cultism’

In a mission statement on the Dialogue Ireland website, it says: “Motivated by the inalienable right to religious freedom, Dialogue Ireland is an independent Trust that seeks to promote people’s freedom to make informed choices about religious, spiritual and philosophical beliefs.”

It says that it aims to promote awareness and understanding of religious issues and cultism in Ireland.

The group is a registered charity and accepts donations through its website. 

Founder Mike Garde, who is taking the defamation case in the High Court, has been involved with the charity for the past 17 years, according to the Charities Regulator

The Palmarian Church has some links to Ireland, with a number of members of the church living here.

The church has hit the news here a number of times.

In one case in 2015, the family of an 82-year-old Wexford woman, whose body may have been undiscovered for three months, said that Bridget Crosbie had become detached from them after becoming involved with the church, the Irish Independent reported.

In another case, a woman told RTÉ’s Liveline show in 2016 that she’d been told her brother had died from a heart attack in the Palmarian Church’s compound in Spain.

Terry had lived there for a number of years. “It took me a long time to get out,” she told Liveline. 

In a number of blog posts on the Dialogue Ireland website, it has frequently criticised the Palmarian Church.

Legal challenges have been launched over author Dan Brown’s books before.

Claims that he had plagiarised the story for The Da Vinci Code were dismissed on appeal at the High Court in London over a decade ago. 

He’s also been sued in the US accused of plagiarism for Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code.

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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