Bundoran Town Council secures restraining orders against former traffic warden

Judge restrains ex-employee from publishing corruption claims against council

Bundoran Town Council  brought High Court proceedings against Patricia McCafferty alleging she had turned up at council meetings wearing a high-visibility jacket with the words “Bundoran Town Council are Corrupt” exhibited on the back with pictures of eight of the nine councillors. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Bundoran Town Council brought High Court proceedings against Patricia McCafferty alleging she had turned up at council meetings wearing a high-visibility jacket with the words “Bundoran Town Council are Corrupt” exhibited on the back with pictures of eight of the nine councillors. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Bundoran Town Council has secured orders restraining a former traffic warden publishing what it described as “grossly defamatory” material alleging corruption against its members and staff. 

The council brought High Court proceedings against Patricia McCafferty alleging she had turned up at council meetings wearing a high-visibility jacket with the words “Bundoran Town Council are Corrupt” exhibited on the back with pictures of eight of the nine councillors.

Ms McCafferty, Rockingham, Main Street, Bundoran also last April posted a YouTube clip featuring an allegation of corruption against a council official, the court was told.

Representing herself yesterday, Ms McCafferty said everything she had said was true and urged Ms Justice Mary Laffoy to refuse the orders.

Having heard the sides, the judge granted several orders – to apply pending a full hearing – restraining Ms McCafferty publishing or continuing to publish defamatory statements that the council, its staff and members are corrupt. She was also restrained from harassing or intimidating staff and members of the council and ordered to refrain from displaying the jacket. She was directed to remove the YouTube clip by Monday. Ms McCafferty said the court’s ruling was unfair.

The judge said the court had a duty to ensure the council was allowed conduct its normal business and she warned Ms McCafferty any failure to comply could result in her being jailed for contempt.

Defamatory
The council brought proceedings alleging Ms McCafferty was  publishing “grossly defamatory” material which it claimed meant it was guilty of corruption, criminal offences and of conducting its business in a dishonest manner.

The council claimed Ms McCafferty had been attending events while wearing the high visibility jacket containing the defamatory material.  These included monthly meetings and an official opening conducted by Government Minister Michael Ring. Ms McCafferty was employed with the council until 2008.