Graham Dwyer, Denis O’Brien, Angela Kerins taking 2018 cases

David Drumm and Michael Lowry are expected to be tried in the coming year

Denis O'Brien, Michael Lowry, Michael Lynn, hospital consultants, Angela Kerins, David Drumm, Larry Goodman, and, of course, the State, are among the cast of characters set to feature in court hearings during 2018.

Criminal cases arising from the Hutch-Kinehan feud, as well as another case involving the use of the Tinder dating app, are also set to make headlines.

The former chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank, David Drumm, will be before the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in January, in a case that is expected to run for an extended period and require an extended jury panel. Drumm faces charges to do with matters associated with the since-collapsed bank.

The high-profile case involving businessman Denis O'Brien and the Red Flag public affairs firm is expected to continue through 2018, with an application scheduled for late January to have Declan Ganley added to the action.


O’Brien is claiming Red Flag was involved in a criminal conspiracy to damage him and wants to be told the name of its client in order to bring defamation charges.

He wants to join Galway businessman Ganley to the case on the grounds that he now believes Ganley to be Red Flag's client. Ganley, in a statement to The Irish Times, has said he has never been a client of Red Flag and that claims that he was are "extremely odd and completely untrue".

Ganley and O’Brien are both parties to one of two cases that continue in the courts where losing parties to the 1995 mobile-phone licence competition are suing the State. The competition was won by O’Brien’s Esat Digifone. The chances of either of these two massive long-running cases going to trial during 2018 are zero, according to legal sources, as both are still stuck at discovery stage.

February will see an important case for the State in which a number of hospital consultants are claiming a failure to pay them what was agreed in contracts they signed as part of a new deal with the State in the late 2000s. Several hundred consultants will stand to gain if the case goes against the State, and the cost to the exchequer would be considerable.

The same month is also scheduled to see a case involving the convicted murderer Graham Dwyer, who is disputing the legality of the use of mobile phone records during the trial that saw him being convicted of the 2013 murder of Elaine O'Hara. Dwyer is claiming certain sections of the Communications (Retention of Data) Act 2011, breached his right to privacy.

The former head of Rehab, Angela Kerins, failed in the High Court in January 2017 in a case for damages she took against the Dáil Committee on Public Accounts following an appearance before that committee. The case was heard by a Divisional (three-judge) Court as it raised important matters to do with the right or power of the courts to interfere in the proceedings of parliament.

An appeal by Kerins against that decision will be heard by the Supreme Court on March 13th, after the case was allowed to “leap-frog” the Court of Appeal on the grounds it involved matters of general public importance.

The appeal will also hear an argument from the committee against the High Court’s decision to grant Kerins two-thirds of her costs while the State will contest the court’s decision not to make any ruling concerning its costs.

The Kerins decision in the Supreme Court is to be followed a week later by a hearing involving Denis O’Brien and similar constitutional territory. O’Brien failed in a case he took against the Dáil Committee on Procedures and Privileges following complaints about statements made in the Dáil by Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty after O’Brien got court injunctions restraining RTÉ from publicising certain information.

The case again raises issues to do with the role of the courts in respect of matters that occur in parliament. O’Brien is also appealing the High Court’s ruling that he pay the costs of his failed claims.

Blackrock Clinic

Larry Goodman, by way of one of his company Breccia, has been involved in a long-running legal dispute with fellow shareholder in the Blackrock Clinic, Dr Joseph Sheehan, over matters to do with loans and shares in the clinic. The main case in that dispute is expected to take place this year, and is likely to take some time.

The Charleton Tribunal, which is investigating matters to do with Sgt Maurice McCabe, is to run between January and April in Dublin Castle. The early hearings will be focused on matters to do with the O’Higgins Commission, which was established following a report produced by Sean Guerin SC.

The Court of Appeal has since ruled that Guerin should have interviewed the then minister for justice, Alan Shatter, before reaching adverse conclusions against him in the Guerin Report. An appeal by Guerin against that finding will be heard in the Supreme Court this year.

In June, a case involving the Independent Tipperary deputy Michael Lowry is scheduled to take place at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where the politician is facing charges that he filed incorrect tax returns in 2003 and 2007. Lowry has denied the charges.

The solicitor Michael Lynn, who is to face charges involving an alleged €80 million fraud, is expected to be extradited from Brazil shortly and is likely to finally appear before the Irish courts during 2018, though whether his full trial will go ahead during the calendar year is unclear. The process of securing his extradition from Brazil has been continuing for years.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times