Marie Farrell denies saying she’d get a cut from Ian Bailey case

Son was stopped five times in a few days for having no insurance

Marie Farrell has denied she told another woman that journalist Ian Bailey was "in line to get millions" from his legal action against the State and that she, Ms Farrell, was getting her "cut" too.

Paul O’Higgins SC, for the State, said Geraldine O’Brien had worked in Ms Farrell’s shop in Schull, was in the shop in June 1997 when Mr Bailey was there, and had given a statement to gardaí.

Counsel said Ms O’Brien claimed Ms Farrell had mentioned Mr Bailey’s legal action to her, said he was in line to get millions and she, Ms Farrell, was getting her cut too.

Ms Farrell said she had spoken with Ms O’Brien in recent years about a beauty therapy course, but had not said what counsel outlined. “That never happened.”


She agreed she got a letter from Mr Bailey's solicitor Frank Buttimer in September 2005 stating Mr Bailey would not sue her. When counsel said she previously said in a statement she had asked for that guarantee and had said in return she would tell the truth about what happened and what she knew about other things, she said the letter was offered and she was glad to get it, but she had not asked for it.

She denied she made her first contact with Mr Buttimer on April 18th, 2005 as a result of “bad feeling” due to several incidents involving herself and her family with gardaí – though she agreed she was stopped by a garda earlier that same day for driving without insurance.

There was bad feeling due to a phone call by Sergeant Maurice Walsh in January 2005, she said.

In re-examination by Tom Creed SC, for Mr Bailey, she said Sgt Walsh told her she may have to give evidence at further court actions related to Mr Bailey and she told him she would never again go to court and tell lies for the guards.

She said she told Sgt Walsh if she was put under pressure again, she might go to Mr Buttimer and he replied, if she did that, she “would never again have a day’s peace in Schull”.

Ms Farrell has concluded her evidence in the action by Mr Bailey against the Garda Commissioner and State over the conduct of the Garda investigation into the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier whose body was found near Toormore, Scull, on the morning of December 23rd, 1996.

The defendants deny all the claims including of wrongful arrest and conspiracy to manufacture evidence.

Mr O’Higgins put it to Ms Farrell that, before she went to Mr Buttimer in April 2005, there were various prior incidents involving the Farrell family with gardaí, including incidents leading to her son Michael being convicted for driving without insurance after he was stopped a number of times for doing so.

Ms Farrell herself had four convictions for driving without insurance and Garda Anthony Finn would also give evidence of various incidents, including where Ms Farrell's husband Chris threatened Garda Finn to leave his son Michael alone, counsel outlined.

Ms Farrell said her husband had told Garda Finn to leave their son James alone after James had talked of feeling suicidal as a result of things Garda Finn said to him. That was the reason her family left Schull, she said. Mr O’Higgins said Garda Finn would deny harassing James.

Ms Farrell also denied discussing getting money for media interviews with Richard Shelley, who the jury has heard had told gardaí, while discussing the murder of French film-maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier at Mr Bailey's home on New Year's Eve, 1998, Mr Bailey had said, "I did it, I went too far".

Ms Farrell said she saw Mr Shelley in Schull after Mr Buttimer wrote to the Minister for Justice about Ms Farrell withdrawing her statements against Mr Bailey. She said Mr Shelley had told her Mr Bailey could have said anything that night and she said to him would he not go to Mr Buttimer but he said he would not after the way and her family were treated.

Mr O’Higgins said Mr Shelley was rung by RTÉ’s Prime Time and told she had said he had withdrawn his story. Ms Farrell said she did not say that.

Asked about dealings with solicitors, she said her daughter had sued her (Ms Farrell) in a personal injuries action. She herself secured about €5,000 damages in another action after she was attacked and injured by a person with special needs while working in a centre for such persons.

She had also claimed €13,000 in a local lottery after they lost her winning ticket, but she did not sue over that. The relevant lottery denied her claim about the ticket, Mr O’Higgins said.

In re-examination, Ms Farrell said she was considering bringing an action about her phone conversations being recorded without her knowledge, but had not issued proceedings. She also said gardaí buried a lot of summonses relating to her concerning speeding and insurance.

The case continues.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times