Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire settles defamation claim against RTÉ

Cork South Central TD settles for sum understood to be in excess of €150,000

Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has settled a defamation claim against RTÉ for a sum understood to be in excess of €150,000.

The settlement was reached in recent weeks and followed comments about Mr Ó Laoghaire on a Liveline programme last year.

Mr Ó Laoghaire confirmed to The Irish Times yesterday that the case had been settled but declined to make any further comment. RTÉ also declined to make any comment when contacted.

The Cork South Central TD launched his action for defamation in the High Court last summer. It followed comments made about him on Joe Duffy's Liveline programme last March – after the general election but before the Government was formed – during a discussion on a "fantasy cabinet".


RTÉ and Duffy apologised last year for separate comments made about Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh on the same programme, which mistakenly suggested that he had previously been convicted of a public order offence.

Topped poll

Regarded as a rising star in Sinn Féin, Mr Ó Laoghaire topped the poll in his Cork South Central constituency, which he shares with Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath, at last year's general election. Previously the party's justice spokesman, he is currently the spokesman on education.

A law graduate of University College Cork, he worked for Sinn Féin as an organiser and adviser for several years before being elected to the Dáil in 2016.

Though RTÉ declined to comment, legal sources said that such a large settlement would only be made if the station believed it had little chance of defending the claim in a full court hearing.

Last month RTÉ agreed to pay €20,000 to charity after comments on Prime Time wrongly linked the republican group Éirígí to the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times