Belfast Telegraph

Denis O'Brien left with huge legal bill over failed bid to sue Oireachtas

Telecoms and media tycoon Denis O'Brien has been left with a massive legal bill for his failed attempt to sue the Oireachtas after two TDs disclosed details of his banking affairs.

Judge Una Ni Raifeartaigh ruled that the billionaire cover the entire costs of the unsuccessful High Court lawsuit heard over seven days last year.

Mr O'Brien took the legal action following remarks made under parliamentary privilege in 2015 by Independent TD Catherine Murphy and Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty.

He lost the case after Judge Ni Raifeartaigh upheld parliamentary freedom of speech and the separation of state powers.

She said the framers of the Constitution had created a strong set of privileges and immunities for parliamentary speech and the court did not have a role in policing such utterances.

It is estimated the legal bill could run to around 1 million euro.

In the ruling on costs, the judge said part of the case involved "no more" than the "relatively straightforward" application of existing legal principles.

Judge Ni Raifeartaigh said there were some novel aspects to the case as it involved "deliberate revealing" of information in the Dail that was confidential and the subject of a court injunction.

Mr O'Brien sought an injunction in 2015 preventing state broadcaster RTE from reporting on what he claims are stolen files of his banking records with the state-owned IBRC, formerly rogue lender Anglo Irish Bank.

The businessman also referred during the case to death threats made against him and his family around the time of the affair.

Judge Ni Raifeartaigh ruled that there was "an insufficient degree of novelty" raised in the case that would warrant costs being shared.

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