Sinéad O’Connor being sued for €500,000 by former manager

Fachtna O’Ceallaigh alleges singer breached contract and defamed him with internet post

Singer Sinéad O’Connor is being sued by her former manager Fachtna O’Ceallaigh and his company for more than €500,000. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Singer Sinéad O’Connor is being sued by her former manager Fachtna O’Ceallaigh and his company for more than €500,000. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

Singer Sinéad O’Connor is being sued by her former manager, Fachtna O’Ceallaigh, and his company for more than €500,000 over alleged breach of contract. She is also being sued for alleged defamation.

In the case Mr O’Ceallaigh and TAL Management Limited, a company owned and controlled by him, claim he provided managerial services to the singer for several years for an agreed monthly fee plus commission and expenses.

He claims the company was substituted for him in 2011 under a new agreement. While that was not executed, it is claimed the parties agreed the terms of the new agreement.

He claims the singer had in April 2012, without warning, terminated the agreement and was not entitled to do that.

He seeks more than €500,000 damages for breach of contract, as well as declaration that the management agreement was not validly terminated.

Mr O’Ceallaigh, of Lansdowne Park, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, also claims he was defamed by the singer in an open letter published on her website and on a fans website in 2012. This was in reply to a newspaper article referring to the ending of their commercial relationship.

Open letter

The singer denies she ever had any agreement with TAL or Mr O’Ceallaigh as alleged or that he and the company are entitled to damages. She also denies his claims that she defamed him in the open letter as alleged.

A pretrial issue in the proceedings came before the Master of the High Court, Mr Edmond Honohan, on Thursday.

Mark Curran BL, for Mr O’Ceallaigh and his company, asked the Master for orders striking out Ms O’Connor’s defences to the claims on grounds she had failed to comply with orders made for the discovery of documents and materials relevant to the case.

Counsel said the singer had consented to those orders, but discovery had not been made. He said Mr O’Ceallaigh required the materials to progress actions he had launched some years ago and the failure to provide the material had the effect of denying him justice.

His client was not a wealthy man with many clients and was aged in his 70s, counsel added.

‘Rock solid’

Eoin O’Shea BL, for Ms O’Connor, said the application to strike out her defences should be dismissed and she had “rock solid” defences to the claims.

It was accepted that the order for discovery had not been complied with but his client, who had switched solicitors twice since the proceedings were initiated, was taking steps to comply including getting files that had been with her previous solicitor. Her actions were not those of somebody trying to delay the process, counsel said.

There were further difficulties caused by the singer’s ill heath, counsel added.

Counsel said not all of the delay was due to his client. The plaintiff had done nothing for a year, and for a period the plaintiff company had been struck off for failing to file annual returns, before being reinstated.

The Master said he was not going to sanction Ms O’Connor by striking out her defence, and granted the singer and her legal team an additional three months to comply with the discovery order.

He was “disheartened” matters had not been progressed, he said. However, he suggested the actions could be progressed by Mr O’Ceallaigh in the absence of discovery by Ms O’Connor. The court hearing the cases could take its own view on any failure to discover materials, the Master added.