Dáil opposes Denis O’Brien request for documents

Businessman seeks voluntary discovery of Committee on Procedures and Privileges papers

The Dáil is opposing a request from businessman Denis O'Brien for the voluntary discovery of documents for his action over speeches made in the Dáil about his banking affairs with state-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC).

High Court Deputy Master Angela Denning was told today there is a dispute over the discovery being sought by Mr O'Brien's side. No details of the documents being sought were outlined in court.

Sara Moorhead SC, for the Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges, said there were "significant issues" involved which would take time to address.

Her side would not be making voluntary discovery and Mr O’Brien’s side would have to seek discovery orders which her side would oppose, counsel said.


There was “nothing particularly urgent” about the proceedings, counsel added.

In those circumstances, the Deputy Master fixed February 9th next as the date for dealing with any discovery applications by either side.

Earlier, Eileen Barrington SC, for Mr O’Brien, said the State had delivered its defence to the case and her side was seeking voluntary discovery from the Committee but was told that would not be forthcoming.

That meant the court would have to decide the discovery issues, counsel outlined.

Mr O'Brien initiated his High Court action in June against the Dáil, the Committee on Procedures and Privileges and the State arising from speeches and remarks made in the Dáil under privilege, including by Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty.

Mr O'Brien alleges that permitting those remarks to be made after he had initiated separate proceedings against RTÉ over a planned broadcast related to his banking relationship with IBRC had decided that latter case against RTÉ in whole or in part.

He claims that amounts to interference with the operation of the courts and breaches his rights of privacy and access to the courts as guaranteed under the Constitution and European Convention of Human Rights.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times