Court warned Denis O'Brien appeal seeks to restrict Parliamentary speech

Lawyers for the State say the Supreme Court has no role to play in Parliamentary speech

Court warned Denis O'Brien appeal seeks to restrict Parliamentary speech

Businessman Denis O'Brien speaks to the media, 07-11-2018. Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews

The Supreme Court has been urged to reject an appeal taken by Denis O’Brien because it seeks to restrict parliamentary speech.

Mr O’Brien is appealing the High Court’s decision not to interfere in how his complaint was handled over statements made by two TDs in the Dáil.

By revealing details about Denis O’Brien’s private dealings with the IBRC, Deputies Catherine Murphy and Pearse Doherty effectively rendered useless a court order protecting those same details from entering the public domain.

Mr O’Brien sought certain reliefs from the High Court but was unsuccessful.

Yesterday, his lawyers appealed certain aspects of that decision, in particular the court’s refusal to intervene in the finding of the Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges (CPP) that neither TD had breached their own rules on free speech in the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Today, the barrister representing the State and the Attorney General told the seven judges that parliamentary speech is not to be judged by anyone other than parliament and the court has no role to play.

Maurice Collins asked if the CPP had wrongly condemned the two politicians, would they have had a right to come to court.

“The answer is no,” he said.