Ganley threatens to sue Labour TD over Libertas allegations


LABOUR EUROPEAN affairs spokesman Joe Costello confirmed yesterday that Libertas leader Declan Ganley has threatened to sue him.

Speaking at his party's conference, Mr Costello claimed that Mr Ganley had told "porkies" during the European Affairs Committee's hearings on the Lisbon Treaty. "He sent me a solicitor's letter during the week," Mr Costello added.

Mr Ganley has threatened to sue Mr Costello for substantial damages, following Mr Costello's charge that the Libertas founder has "a subversive foreign agenda".

The declaration was made by the Dublin Central TD in a statement on October 3rd, but it has only now led to a legal challenge by Mr Ganley.

Then, Mr Costello said: "Until Mr Ganley comes clean on his business links, details his Lisbon Treaty expenditure and the source of his donations, clarifies the conditions and origins of the €200,000 personal loan, explains why his business and political employees overlap, there remains the appalling vista that the most sacred power in Irish democracy, namely the citizens' right to change their Constitution can be usurped by a single wealthy businessman with a foreign subversive agenda.

"Thus Mr Ganley's close business connections with the US military, the absence of business activities in Ireland, his sudden arrival on the Irish political scene, his expenditure of vast sums of money to defeat the Lisbon Treaty, his refusal to reveal the source of his spending and the fact that many of the principals in his US Rivada Networks business company are the same as the principals in his Irish political Libertas organisation - all raise questions that need to be answered," he said.

In a letter sent on Monday, Mr Ganley's Dublin-based solicitors, O'Rourke Reid said the allegation was "an unlawful, unjustified and gross slur on our client's good name and character". Similar, or nearly-similar charges were made by others during and after the campaign without a legal letter issuing from Mr Ganley.

Mr Costello's accusation, the solicitors went on, had "exposed our client to contempt and ridicule and has caused our client considerable personal upset, distress and significant injury to his reputation and good name".

Demanding a public apology within seven days, O'Rourke Reid said Mr Ganley requires that Mr Costello also make a substantial donation to a charity of Mr Ganley's choosing.

If such an apology is not tendered, the solicitors said that they had instructions to take "the necessary proceedings" and seek "substantial damages" in court.

Mr Costello's statement was issued in the wake of a report in The Irish Times which showed that Mr Ganley had loaned €200,000 to Libertas for its campaign.