Ian Bailey reveals he threatened Marie Farrell with legal action

Witness had made false allegations he had threatened her after libel case, says Bailey

Ian Bailey said in court he had threatened to issue legal proceedings against Marie Farrell over media interviews she gave in which she alleged he had intimidated and threatened her after she testified against him in a libel action.

Mr Bailey confirmed, under cross-examination by Luán Ó Braonáin SC, that his solicitor, Frank Buttimer, had sent a letter to Ms Farrell on March 25th, 2004, over comments she made about him in media interviews.

Ms Farrell had testified for seven newspapers in a libel action brought by Mr Bailey in December 2003. She later gave interviews to several newspapers and radio shows.

In those interviews, Ms Farrell alleged he had threatened and intimidated her on specific dates, including one when he was in Mr Buttimer’s office, and he instructed Mr Buttimer to write to her seeking a retraction and an undertaking not to repeat them as they were false, Mr Bailey said.


The letter concluded with a warning that if Ms Farrell did not retract the allegations and give an undertaking not to repeat them, he would institute legal proceedings against her and pursue her for costs, agreed Mr Bailey after Mr Ó Braonáin had read the letter to him.

The court heard Ms Farrell contacted Cork solicitor Ernest Cantillon, who responded on her behalf on April 19th, 2004, stating she could not respond to allegations about unspecified articles and programmes and alleging Mr Bailey had engaged in threatening and abusive behaviour towards Ms Farrell.

The letter refused any retraction or undertaking and said a counterclaim would be lodged if Mr Bailey’s “abusive” behaviour persisted.

Mr Bailey confirmed he had not proceeded with the legal action, but in April 2005, he received a phone call from Mr Buttimer telling him Ms Farrell had contacted him and indicated that she wished to retract statements she had made placing Mr Bailey at Kealfadda Bridge.

Mr Bailey confirmed that on September 29th, 2005, Mr Buttimer wrote to Ms Farrell saying he was deeply grateful for her courage in coming forward and confirming he would not proceed with any legal proceedings against her over the comments she had made in early 2004.

Questioned by Mr Ó Braonáin about his contact with Ms Farrell after she approached him in Schull on June 22nd, 1997, and after he visited her in her ice cream parlour on June 28th, 1997, Mr Bailey said he had no contact with her.

He had seen her a couple of times around Schull and she had rung his home in 1998 some time after his second arrest in January 1998, he said.

His partner, Jules Thomas, had taken the call and he had refused to speak to her, he said.

He said he did not meet Ms Farrell again until some time in 2005 after she “came over to the side of the good” and made contact with Mr Buttimer to retract her incriminating statement and he met her in Mr Buttimer’s office.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times