Verwoerd book publication halted


The High Court has granted an interim order on consent restraining the publication of When We Dance, written by the former partner of RTÉ broadcaster Gerry Ryan.

The injunction was granted by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan today to David Kavanagh, of Hatch Street, Dublin, a long-time friend of Mr Ryan, arising from certain material contained in the book. The order applies until October 24th when the court will decide whether to continue it or not.

The order, sought by Brian O'Moore SC, for Mr Kavanagh, was made under Section 33 of the Defamation Act 2009 and restrains Liberties Media Ltd, trading as Liberties Press, from publishing the book, which was due to to go on sale today at 9am. Section 33 also restrains publication of details of the material in the book which Mr Kavanagh has complained of.

Copies of the book were on sale in Dublin bookshops yesterday. They were removed from shelves today.

Ms Verwoerd was in court today for the brief hearing and said afterwards it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage.

Lawyers for Mr Kavanagh had applied to Mr Justice Gilligan ex parte (one side only represented) yesterday evening for the interim order, but the judge returned the matter to today after saying the other side should be put on notice of the application.

Ms Verwoerd's memoir also deals with her life as a South African diplomat.

A former South African ambassador to Ireland, she started writing the book several years ago. Earlier this year, she was quoted as saying: “Gerry was very encouraging and I made a promise to him that I would talk about him in the book. It was mainly going to be about my political and professional life. Obviously that all came to an abrupt halt when Gerry died.

“The book is not [solely] a book about Gerry, it is a book about my life.”

Born Melanie Fourie, she married into the family of the late South African prime minister, Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, the “architect of apartheid”. She experienced much opposition from her husband’s family and her peers when she became an ANC activist and then an MP in the new parliament. She separated from Wilhelm Verwoerd in 2005.