O’Brien’s water torture for site

 

Denis O’Brien wasn’t long last week in putting manners on Broadsheet.ie, the chippy satirical website owned by the former New York Dog publisher John Ryan.

O’Brien, the biggest shareholder in the publisher Independent News & Media, has had plenty of legal scraps with journalists whom he has accused of defaming him.

Perhaps it was naivety, but Broadsheet last week published a spiky piece about him written by an anti-austerity protester that had been doing the rounds on social media. It suggested several allegations – which it didn’t stand up in the article – encompassing O’Brien’s company Siteserv and Irish Water.

Sierra, a division of Siteserv, is one of the companies that recently won contracts as part of the rollout of water meters.

His solicitors promptly fired off a very lengthy legal letter to Broadsheet strenuously denying the allegations and threatening the divil an’ all unless the piece was pulled by 5pm the same day, which it was.

“It is outrageous that you should seek to impugn an investment by Mr O’Brien . . . in a struggling Irish business (Siteserv) that had the effect of saving jobs,” it thundered. “Our clients [O’Brien and his Millington company] require that you immediately remove the defamatory article and publish in its stead a full retraction and apology in terms to be agreed with this office.”

Ryan now apparently lives in Berlin, where there should be plenty of bunkers to shelter from O’Brien.

The link to the article now leads to a page that reads “Page not found . . . This is somewhat embarrassing isn’t it?”

The site’s only mention of O’Brien since has been to say that he is a “very cool guy with great hair”.

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