Denis O’Brien and the constitution…again.

So Denis says he respects Dail Privilege unless someone uses it to take another’s good name.

That would be qualified. Which is not what the Constitution says. What it says is very simple. One imagines his lawyers, his PR people, he himself, can read this simple sentence.

12 All official reports and publications of the Oireachtas or of either House thereof and utterances made in either House wherever published shall be privileged.

Thats it. All. Not some, all. In toto. The constitution gives the parliament the right to police itself. The framing trusted the members to behave, and not abuse the privilege given. And, for the most part, they do. We do not see Senators accusing each other of coprophagic necrophila, nor TD’s accusing left right and center of fraud and murder. They behave, more or less.

If Denis wants to amend S12 to read ” All official reports and publications of the Oireachtas or of either House thereof and utterances made in either House wherever published shall be privileged, except when they say something nasty about someone who doesn’t even live in the country” then he should start a movement,


4 thoughts on “Denis O’Brien and the constitution…again.

  1. Póló

    While I share the view on absolute privilege, there may be a conflict with a constitutional right to privacy. That would normally be something which the Supreme Court could pronounce on. However, I’m not sure about the degree to which the constitution in this case may be subject to ECHR or the COJ. It is likely that DOB is trying to get the matter to this level where he might stand some chance of, even qualified, sucess.

    Not an expert. Just some thoughts.

  2. mike flannelly

    The Constitution has the authority to supersede individual liberty and property interests in the name of preserving the Greater Public Good.

  3. John C

    Let the courts decide on the issue, that is their competence. Meanwhile his RIGHT to bring an action is a vindication that we live in a constitutional republic. Taking a Supreme Court action is beyond the resources of most people, therefore we must respect the fact that an individual who can afford the cost actually does so. Constitutional law in Ireland is organic and judicially-developed, but without litigants to raise issues that development ceases. I say well done, Mr. O’Brien – win or lose, the law will be clarified.

  4. mike flannelly

    Someone with a “Good Name” should have no reason to fear Transparency. Surely Transparency would only serve to Highlight and Advertise their Good Name.


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