Sinn Féin TD to sue for defamation over 'Sunday World' report


DUBLIN SINN Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has initiated defamation proceedings against the Sunday Worldover an article which, he claims, wrongly accused him of failing to report a serious crime to the Garda.

The case arises from an article published in the newspaper last Sunday under the headline “Aengus turns Blind Eye To Car-Jacking”, which referred to the theft of Mr Ó Snodaigh’s car from outside his Dublin home on the night of December 28th last. The car was later found burned out.

The article stated Mr Ó Snodaigh, Sinn Féin’s justice spokesman, failed to report the theft but he says that claim was wrong and he had reported the matter to the Garda.

Yesterday, Ross Maguire SC for Mr Ó Snodaigh, said his client was Sinn Féin’s justice spokesman and a member of the Dublin City Joint Policing Committee, a think tank involved in analysing crime trends and formulation of policy on crime prevention.

On December 28th last, Mr Ó Snodaigh’s car was stolen from outside his home and burned out and the TD reported this fully to gardaí the next morning when he became aware of it, counsel said.

Gardaí informed him the matter was already reported by a local resident.

However, on January 9th the Sunday Worldpublished an article headlined “Aengus Turns Blind Eye To Car Jacking” and under a strap-headline across two pages stating “We know Ireland Sunday World We Know Crime”. The article featured a photograph of Mr Ó Snodaigh with a caption “no complaint” while articles on the opposite page related to Limerick criminals and another man alleged to be a “notorious crime lord”.

Mr Maguire said his side had issued defamation proceedings and had written to the Sunday Worldasking it to remove the article from the website and not repeat the falsehoods in future editions of the newspaper. The Sunday Worldhad not responded to date.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, said short notice of the injunction application could be served on the newspaper and he returned the matter to Monday.

In an affidavit, Mr Ó Snodaigh said he and his family were asleep when his car was stolen and he discovered the theft the next morning when he immediately went to Kilmainham Garda station and reported it. The garda on duty told him the theft was reported earlier by a local resident.