Denis O'Brien to pay all legal costs for failed High Court action

The businessman applied for at least some of the bill to be picked up by the State

Denis O'Brien to pay all legal costs for failed High Court action

Businessman Denis O'Brien on his way into the Dáil in 2009 | Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/PA Images

Denis O'Brien has been ordered to pay all the legal costs for his failed High Court action over remarks made in the Dáil about his banking details.

The businessman applied for at least some of the bill to be picked up by the State because of the novelty of the case and the legal issues that arose.

By disclosing his dealings with the IBRC in the Dáil in 2015, Mr O'Brien claimed Deputies Catherine Murphy and Pearse Doherty effectively "unravelled" a court imposed reporting restriction he had been temporarily granted against RTÉ.

Ms Justice Una Ní Raifeartaigh agreed and accepted he had been damaged, but decided the court could not intervene because they were protected by parliamentary privilege.

The loser usually pays for both sides, but Mr O'Brien's counsel urged the court to depart from that rule because of the constitutional importance of the case - and the fact it was brought in the interests of other citizens and not just his own.

Justice Ní Raifertaigh accepted the facts of the case were "novel" but crucially, she decided there was an "insufficient degree of novelty in the legal issues raised" and she ordered him to pay for the defendant’s costs on top of his own - an estimated €1m bill.