Pro-Seán Quinn campaigners to shut Facebook page

‘Concerned Irish Citizens’ page at centre of High Court action over alleged defamatory posts

The administrators of a Facebook page supportive of the Cavan businessman Sean Quinn’s struggle to regain control of his former empire say they will shut down the page on Wednesday, following a request from the former billionaire. Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

The administrators of a Facebook page supportive of the Cavan businessman Sean Quinn’s struggle to regain control of his former empire say they will shut down the page on Wednesday, following a request from the former billionaire. Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times.

 

The administrators of a Facebook page supportive of the Cavan businessman Seán Quinn’s struggle to regain control of his former empire say they will shut down the page on Wednesday, following a request from the former billionaire.

“Concerned Irish Citizens”, which is also at the centre of High Court proceedings over allegedly defamatory postings, posted an email it received from Mr Quinn on the page on Tuesday evening.

The email, which was forwarded by Mr Quinn’s daughter, Aoife Quinn, said postings on the page had become “counterproductive” to his talks with the US investors that now control most of his former group.

“While my family and I appreciate the continued support that you and all members of CIC have shown us over the past number of years, I would request that CIC immediately cease posting further material and close down the Facebook page,” Mr Quinn wrote.

The page’s administrators said “it is in everybody’s best interest for us to respect the wishes of Seán Quinn on this matter”. They warned, however, that “purchasers of Quinn assets will not be welcome” until the conclusion of various legal proceedings surrounding some of his former businesses.

Brick wall

Earlier on Tuesday, the High Court heard that seeking an injunction requiring Facebook to remove the pages is like taking legal action against a brick wall holding up an advertising poster.

Rossa Fanning BL, for Facebook, made the analogy when opposing an application by a company once run by businessman Sean Quinn for orders removing the CIC Facebook page and some allegedly defamatory posts and identifying who is behind them.

“The application against Facebook is just wrong in law,” Mr Fanning said.

“If somebody was putting up a film poster on a board, it would be like seeking an injunction against the wall”, he said.

Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH), and its chief executive Liam McCaffrey, are seeking the orders against Facebook Ireland requiring the removal of the material put up by CIC, which says it supports lawful efforts to get the Quinn family back in control of company operations.

QIL and Mr McCaffrey, was last Friday given permission to serve notice of its proceedings on Facebook and the matter returned to court .

Michael Binchy BL, for the plaintiffs, said there was still defamatory material on the Facebook site.

Wider dispute

Mr Fanning said Mr Binchy knew full well who the people posting this information was and it was part of a much broader dispute. Facebook should not be drawn into it, he said.

This was essentially a prior restraint application for which there was EU and national law saying it was impermissible, he said. There were billions of Facebook postings and there was no way his client could possibly screen them all.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan adjourned the matter until today for a date for the hearing of the injunction application to be fixed. He said a possible simple solution could be if Facebook was to tell the plaintiffs the identity of those posting the material.

The judge also commented he was aware there were “serious legal issues in the background”.