herald

Monday 5 December 2016

No recall of Dail as O'Brien-TD battle continues

The Government has again rejected demands for the Dail to be recalled as the political storm involving businessman Denis O'Brien intensifies.

The Opposition is calling on the Taoiseach to intervene to resolve what has been described as a "constitutional crisis" involving the Houses of the Oireachtas and the judicial system.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe yesterday said: "Both RTE and other media organisations are now looking to appeal that (judgement) within our courts…I believe when that process is underway, that should be respected and that is allowed to happen." He added that a debate on the issue will be facilitated next week.

Three media outlets will tomorrow seek clarification from the High Court over the reporting of a Dail speech by Independent TD Catherine Murphy in which she made claims about Mr O'Brien's relationship with the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

Although the claims were made under Dail privilege, most media outlets have opted not to publish the details due to a High Court injunction on May 21.

Mr Donohoe described the issue as "extremely serious".

"I do not believe it is tenable that media outlets in Ireland cannot report on what is taking place in our parliament, and media outlets outside of Ireland can and are. That is not acceptable," he said.

information

But the unprecedented legal battle took a new twist yesterday after Mr O'Brien's spokesman, James Morrissey, claimed the information read into the Dail record by Ms Murphy was "stolen" and subsequently "altered" before being handed on to the Dail deputy.

Mr Morrissey told RTE radio that Ms Murphy's statements were "fundamentally wrong" and that Mr O'Brien will take whatever steps necessary to protect the privacy of his finances.

"There were documents stolen. And they were amended and altered and they were presented to Catherine Murphy," Mr Morrissey said.

But Ms Murphy yesterday insisted the sources who gave her the information about Mr O'Brien are "very reliable" and that she double-checked the accuracy of the information before speaking in the Dail.

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