Press body defends record after libel case


The Press Council of Ireland has defended its record following a recent defamation case taken by businessman and media owner Denis O’Brien.

In a statement yesterday, which did not refer to the O’Brien case but is understood to have been issued as a result of it, council chairman Dáithí O’Ceallaigh said “recent statements” about the council and the Office of the Press Ombudsman appeared “to be based on a lack of knowledge of the record of these institutions, and a lack of awareness of its effectiveness and relevance in the matter of disputes concerning the press”.

He said that in the five years since its establishment, the council had received almost 2,000 complaints, some from senior figures in Irish public life. “In all cases where complaints were upheld, newspapers have published our decisions – some of them of substantial import – upholding the reputations of individuals and correcting serious errors.”

He added “it is important that criticisms of the Council and the Office of the Press Ombudsman should be founded on fact”.

Mr O’Brien was awarded €150,000 in damages last week against the Irish Daily Mail.