Sean Gallagher ‘Tweetgate’ case against RTÉ almost ready to hear, court told

Businessman seeking declaration that presidential election programme was unfair

Presidential candidates Sean Gallagher and the late  Martin McGuinness on RTE’s The Frontline in 2011.

Presidential candidates Sean Gallagher and the late Martin McGuinness on RTE’s The Frontline in 2011.

 

Businessman Sean Gallagher’s case against RTÉ over the “Tweetgate” incident during the presidential election campaign is almost ready for hearing following resolution of disclosure of documents issues, the High Court has heard.

Mr Gallagher is seeking a declaration the October 2011 RTÉ Frontline debate programme, involving the presidential election candidates was deliberately and unfairly edited, presented and directed by RTÉ in order to damage his electoral prospects.

His claim includes a claim for exemplary damages arising from comments allegedly made by broadcaster Pat Kenny in relation to a tweet read out during the show.

RTÉ denies the claims and also pleads Mr Gallagher himself damaged his election prospects because of the manner in which he responded to particular assertions.

RTÉ brought a case dismissal application because it claimed Mr Gallagher had failed to comply with his discovery obligations. During the hearing, it asked that an independent expert be appointed to oversee the discovery process.

Last April, Mr Justice David Keane ordered an independent expert on electronic discovery should be appointed to conduct a comprehensive review of the discovery to be made by Mr Gallagher and provide a written report to the parties.

When the case returned before the judge on Thursday, Jim O’Callaghan SC, for Mr Gallagher, said he was pleased to say there had been very considerable progress. The independent expert’s report had been provided and his side had sworn affidavits of discovery which RTÉ needed some time to consider, he said.

Counsel said there were one or two matters which needed to be dealt with and after that the case could proceed to trial.

Mr Justice Keane agreed to adjourn the case to next month to allow RTÉ consider the affidavits of discovery.