Sinn Féin legal actions are ‘not a coordinated campaign’ – Doherty

Sinn Féin’s legal actions are not a “coordinated campaign” against the media, the party’...
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

10.47 9 Jan 2024

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Sinn Féin legal actions are ‘n...

Sinn Féin legal actions are ‘not a coordinated campaign’ – Doherty

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

10.47 9 Jan 2024

Share this article

Sinn Féin’s legal actions are not a “coordinated campaign” against the media, the party’s finance spokesperson has insisted.

Donegal TD Pearse Doherty told Newstalk Breakfast this morning that party members have a right to “defend their good name” and decide on an individual level whether to pursue a case or not.

It comes as a legal action brought by Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly against a reporter was this week thrown out by a judge who branded it as “scandalous, frivolous and vexatious”.


At least eight other cases taken by the party against the media are currently active.

Deputy Doherty said Sinn Féin is not the only political party resorting to court actions against the media.

“When others were taking a case, whether it was Fianna Fáil in their last Government, there were no questions asked,” he said.

“I was the subject of a legal action by Phil Hogan, I know the risks of being on the other side of it, and I also know because I did take a case against a media outlet,” he said.

“I know the risks of taking an action to defend your good name so I understand both sides of it - this is an individual decision.”

Deputy Doherty vehemently denied there was a coordinated campaign of legal action by his party against the media.

“I’m a senior member of Sinn Féin and I know it’s not a coordinated campaign,” he said.

“If I am defamed, whether a member of public office or not, I have a right to defend my good name.

“I have taken that avenue in the past and I may take that avenue in the future.

“It’s not just people from political parties, people in the media are also taking cases against other news outlets in the media.

Tax breaks

Separately, Deputy Doherty said new Freedom of Information documents secured by Sinn Féin show that civil servants in the Department of Finance were against tax breaks for landlords introduced in the budget.

“We now know officials within the Department of Finance have argued against this vehemently with the minister,” he said.

“They made it very clear this was costly; it would cost hundreds of millions of euros and it was unfair on taxpayers.

“Why should a nurse pay 40% tax when one in four landlords now pay no tax whatsoever on rental income, because of Fine Gael’s tax breaks?”

Deputy Doherty said landlords are treated more favourably to other professions.

“This isn’t the first tax break for landlords,” he said.

“About €1.6 billion worth of tax breaks already exist and there needs to be genuine questions asked how that is fair in a society.”

Accommodation centre protests

The Donegal TD also commented on recent protests outside a proposed accommodation centre for asylum seekers in Ballinrobe, County Mayo.

“In some of these protests we see elements of the far-right,” he said.

“What we also see in a lot of communities is there are genuine issues, in terms of the fact there is no consultation with local communities.

“There is a frustration as to what is happening and there doesn’t seem to be a government strategy here.”

Deputy Doherty said there are “international obligations” to take people in on humanitarian grounds but issues in the application process “have to be addressed”.

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Main image: Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty outside Leinster House, 09-09-2020. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

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