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Judge says Denis O'Brien's action against the Oireachtas is not urgent

The action, which relates to the statements made about O’Brien and his banking affairs with IBRC made under Dáil privilege recently, has been put back until October.

Image: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

DENIS O’BRIEN’S LEGAL action against the Oireachtas and the state has been put back until 7 October.

This morning’s hearing in front of the President of the High Court Justice Nicholas Kearns was requested by Senior Counsel Michael Cush, representing O’Brien, with the aim of securing directions for both sides on how to proceed.

Sara Moorehead SC, representing the Oireachtas, said the proceedings could not continue without the sanction of the Dáil, which rises on 16 July.

She said she felt such sanction could be obtained before that date, but that the case is one that cannot be expected to proceed expeditiously.

Justice Kearns concurred saying that there is no “real urgency” to the case, and that it “certainly can’t expect to be heard before the end of the current court term”.

Justice Nicholas Kearns Justice Nicholas Kearns Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Kearns directed both parties to come up with a timetable for proceeding between them, which they duly did.

The state now has until 21 September to prepare its defence, while the matter will commence next term and be next mentioned before the High Court on 7 October.

O’Brien launched the action, separate to those he and IBRC took against RTE, last month. The proceedings are against the Houses of the Oireachtas Commission, Ireland and the Attorney General.

The action relates to his banking dealings with IBRC.

Mr O’Brien is seeking various declarations from the state in connection to statements made under Dáil privilege by independent TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty.

Denis O Brien Court Case. Independent TD Catherine Murphy Source: Photocall Ireland

He contends that those statements decided in whole or in part the separate proceedings he and IBRC took against RTE concerning their banking relationship and a planned broadcast that RTE had planned concerning those affairs.

It is also understood that he will argue that permitting such statements amounts to a breach of his rights under the Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights.

While the majority of the injunction O’Brien had previously lodged against RTE has been lifted, the High Court refused to dismiss it entirely.

Read: ‘Almost all’ of the RTÉ story Denis O’Brien tried to block is now out. Here it is…

Read: After several rows, Sinn Féin votes against IBRC inquiry – but it’s still happening

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