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Roy Keane claims Paddy Power breached his constitutional rights with 'crude and vulgar' ad

The matter was admitted to the Commercial Court today.

ROY KEANE CLAIMS his constitutional rights were breached when bookmakers Paddy Power used his face on a mocked up image of ‘Braveheart’ prior to the Ireland Scotland European Championship qualifier without his prior knowledge or consent.

Today the Ireland Assistant Manager’s legal action where he is seeking damages and aggravated damages against Paddy Power was admitted to the Commercial Court, the big business division of the High Court.

The action against Paddy Power Plc relates to a billboard featuring Mr Keane as Scottish hero William Wallace – in a still from Oscar-winning film ‘Braveheart’ – which was allegedly placed on the side of a 40ft truck and driven around Dublin ahead of Ireland’s international soccer match against Scotland.

The billboard contained a line adapted from the film:

You may take our points, but at least we have our freedom. (Ya wee Pussies).

The Euro 2016 qualifier which finished 1-1 was played on 13 June last.

In his action, Mr Keane claims his image was very deliberately used by Paddy Power, which he says is renowned for its controversial approach to marketing, for its commercial benefit as part of its advertising campaign centered on the Ireland-Scotland game.

It is claimed Mr Keane’s image was central to the poster campaign, given his high profile. He claims the use of his image in the advert was designed to give the impression to the public Mr Keane and the defendant’s business were connected.

This it is claimed constituted “a serious and flagrant misrepresentation and a misuse of the substantial and valuable goodwill enjoyed by Mr Keane in his name, image, likeliness and professional reputation.”

This, it is alleged, amounts to breach of his constitutional rights.

‘Crude and vulgar’ 

He also claims that the advert is one that is couched in crude and vulgar terms towards Scottish people. The advert made a mocking reference to the outcome of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, when the electorate decided to remain within the UK.

The former Celtic player said the tone and the content of the advert does not represent his views or amount to anything he would say even as a joke. The disparaging message on the billboard posters he claims has endangered and harmed his connection with Scotland.

He also claims as part of its marketing activities Paddy Power enters into commercial arrangements with well-known sporting persons for the provision of services. In this case he says his image was used without his permission or his prior knowledge.

Paddy Power, it is claimed, is well aware of the requirement to seek permission and enter into commercial arrangements for such service and association.

Injunctions sought

In his action, he seeks damages, including aggravated exemplary under a number of headings including for allegedly passing itself off as a business endorsed by or connected to the former Manchester United Captain, injurious falsehood and the breach of his constitutional rights.

Mr Keane also seeks various orders including injunctions restraining the bookmakers from passing off its business and services as being endorsed, promoted or associated with Mr Keane.

He also seeks injunctions restraining Paddy Power from using his image to advertise or promote its business, and from falsely representing that a commercial connection exists between the bookmaker and the former footballer.

He further seeks orders directing the Paddy Power to deliver up all materials in its possession that allegedly infringe Mr Keane’s intellectual property rights, and that all such materials be destroyed.

Today Mr Justice Brian McGovern granted an application by Michael Howard SC for Mr Keane to fast-track the proceedings in the Commercial Court. Counsel said the action was one of an alleged passing off.

Jim O Callaghan SC for Paddy Power, who described the action as unusual, said his side were neither consenting nor objecting to the action being admitted to the list.

Mr Keane was not present in court for the brief application.  The matter will return before the court in November.

More: Roy Keane sues Paddy Power over ‘Braveheart’ billboard ad

Aodhan O Faolain