Ex-GAA player panicked when approached over swingers’ story

Brian Nolan offered Sunday World names of party revellers if no story published on him

A former inter-county Gaelic footballer said he told a newspaper reporter that he would give him the names of others who attended a swingers’ party if he agreed not to publish a story about him .

Brian Nolan said he was so panicked when confronted by Sunday World reporter Niall Donald outside his home in Dublin on July 7th, 2012, that he did not know what he said to him. He said in the event he did not give him any names and the paper went ahead and published a story about him.

Mr Nolan is suing the Sunday World for defamation and invasion of privacy. The case is over articles which were published by the newspaper on July 15th, 2012 and March 3rd, 2013.

A native of Newbridge, Mr Nolan (49) of Goatstown, Dublin 14, played senior football for Kildare in the 1990s.


When cross-examined by Rossa Fanning SC, for the Sunday World, Mr Nolan confirmed that his lawyers received a letter from Bective Rangers RFC in 2015 terminating his role as a coach at the club. It came after the newspaper published the stories including one headlined, "Ex-GAA Star is Biggest Swinger in Town".

Mr Nolan agreed with Mr Fanning that he was a newsworthy person when he was playing inter-county football for Kildare in the 1990s and when he was convicted of money laundering in 2002. But he said that was 15 years ago and he no longer considered himself newsworthy.

He rejected a suggestion from Mr Fanning that he was “the author of his own misfortune” by agreeing to pose in a compromising position for photographs at some of the four swingers’ parties that he attended in 2010 and 2011 with his then partner, who was bisexual and into the swinging scene.

Private parties

He reiterated that he did not organise any of the four parties that he attended contrary to what the Sunday World stated in its stories. He said that he only attended the parties as an invited guest and did so on the basis that they were private parties.

"I can't agree with that [that he was the author of his own misfortune] . . . that you can write an article about me about something that I didn't do [organise the parties] and that it is not your responsibility," he told the second day of the case at the High Court sitting in Cork.

Mr Nolan said some 30 people attended the first swingers' party in Dunboyne in Co Meath in February 2010. He did not accept the proposition from Mr Fanning that attending a party in front of so many people meant that it was not a private party.

He also rejected a proposition from Mr Fanning that he had forfeited his right to privacy by agreeing to pose for compromising photographs at a swingers’ party in front of so many people whom he did not know and whose trustworthiness he did not know.

Mr Nolan said it was a rule of the party that the photographs would be not disclosed to anyone “other than those in the community who are into the scene”. While he had posed for the photographs, he did so as “it was just pure craic”. “ I didn’t think it would be thrown out there,” he added.

He said he went along on the first occasion out of curiosity as his partner was bisexual, but he was uncomfortable with what he encountered and withdrew from it. He agreed with Mr Fanning that it took him almost 18 months to withdraw from the scene after attending four parties.

“Herself was into it , it was a new scene to me, I wasn’t very happy, I was in love with that woman, no one else . . . I didn’t want anyone else touching her,” said Mr Nolan, who agreed with Mr Fanning that no one had pressurised him to attend the parties.

The case was adjourned to March 24th when it will resume before Mr Justice Tony O'Connor at the Four Courts in Dublin.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times