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Insanity Rules In Ireland: Media Ordered Not To Report On Parliamentary Speech

from the streisand-goes-to-ireland dept

Over in Ireland, it appears that some are not all that familiar with the Streisand Effect. Yesterday, an Irish member of Parliament, Catherine Murphy, gave a speech in which she detailed some charges against an Irish media tycoon, Denis O?Brien, claiming that the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, was giving him ridiculously favorable terms on bank loans. Here’s the main chunk of it:

I have no doubt that the special liquidator is more than capable of carrying out such a review, but his direct involvement in the sale process, his relationship with the eventual purchaser of Siteserv and his current actions in the High Court in supporting Mr. Denis O’Brien against RTE place him in a position where there is, at the very least, a perceived if not an actual conflict of interest. The review is not confined to Siteserv, but that is the transaction that prompted a review in the first instance. I worry about the transactions that have been excluded from the review given what that we now know that in the final months before prom night, the relationship between the Department and IBRC had completely broken down. If deals were being done without the knowledge or input of the Minister, we must know what those were.

We are now aware, for example, that the former CEO of IBRC made verbal agreements with Denis O’Brien to allow him to extend the terms of his already expired loans. We also know that the verbal agreement was never escalated to the credit committee for approval. I am led to believe and would welcome clarification by the Minister that the rates applicable to the extension were extremely favourable. I understand that Mr. O’Brien was enjoying a rate of approximately 1.25% when IBRC could, and arguably should, have been charging 7.5%. Given that we are talking about outstanding sums of upwards of ?500 million, the interest rate applied is not an insignificant issue for the public interest. We also know that Denis O’Brien felt confident enough in his dealings with IBRC that he could write to Kieran Wallace, the special liquidator, to demand that the same favourable terms extended to him by way of a verbal agreement be continued. We now have Kieran Wallace, who has been appointed by the Government to conduct the IBRC review, joining with IBRC and Denis O’Brien in the High Court to seek to injunct the information I have outlined from coming into the public domain. Surely, that alone represents a conflict.

In documents released to me under freedom of information, the Minister, his officials, the Central Bank and even the troika acknowledge that IBRC – the former Anglo Irish Bank – is no ordinary bank and that there is a significant public interest as the bank was fully nationalised and was in wind-down mode. They all accept that this is the people’s money we are dealing with and that there can be no dispute regarding the public interest in this.

Now, you may notice that Murphy mentions that O’Brien is trying to get an injunction to stop that information from being made public. Apparently, that even extends to what is said in Parliament — because O’Brien then successfully got an injunction barring the Irish media from reporting on this. He apparently claimed that this was all a “breach of his privacy rights.”

The three-day injunction hearing was told Mr O?Brien wanted to restrain publication of the broadcast report because it breached his privacy rights and would cause him incalculable commercial damage.

IBRC, which brought a separate but related application before the court, supported his case.

Apparently a bunch of people in Ireland still haven’t heard about the Streisand Effect. Because now the story is blowing up everywhere. Oh, and if you’re interested, you can even see the speech here:

In other words, this story that ordinarily wouldn’t have received much international press coverage at all — is now getting tons of attention. Now, perhaps O’Brien and his lawyers are taking a calculated risk that the only place this issue really matters is at home in Ireland, and shutting people up about it there will be more important. After all, the accusations probably are big news there. But, it still seems like its backfiring massively. The internet is still a (mostly) global place, and the injunction not only calls that much more attention to the original accusations, but it makes everyone involved in the injunction look really foolish.

And it does seem to be backfiring in Ireland as well. While such injunctions are all too common in Ireland (and nearby in the UK, for that matter), the fact that it’s flat out censoring a Parliamentary speech appears to have broken new ground that has a lot of people up in arms:

But the extension of the terms of that injunction to cover a parliamentary speech has shocked the Irish media community, not to mention the public.

It had extraordinary effects. For example, RTÉ reporter Philip Boucher Hayes tweeted yesterday afternoon that the Drivetime show was about to play Murphy?s speech, but the piece was not broadcast and his tweet was later deleted.

RTÉ news bulletins mentioned that Murphy had spoken but didn?t quote what she had said or play clips. Online reports quoting Murphy were removed, stating only that Murphy had spoken about O?Brien. Similarly, the Irish Times?s report was silent on what Murphy said but it did provide a link to her speech on the Oireachtas site. (Evidently – hat tip: Padraig Reidy – the Irish Times did initially report her words).

The report on the matter by Ireland?s best-selling daily newspaper, the Irish Independent, said: ?Mr O?Brien successfully stopped RTÉ from broadcasting the details which Ms Murphy raised in the Dá il?.

Whatever short term benefit O’Brien and his lawyers thought they were getting with this injunction, it appears not to have worked very well.

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Comments on “Insanity Rules In Ireland: Media Ordered Not To Report On Parliamentary Speech”

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24 Comments
Gwiz says:

For those new here, "Streisand Effect" is Masnick's only claim to fame.

Writers whether good or bad expose key premise in first sentence. This article is NOT about Ireland, it’s so Masnick can yet again wedge in the quip that’s his one claim to fame. — Heck, Masnick apparently pays the writers to work it in!

Masnick’s putting that in so often is NOT an inside joke, not intentional self-parody, he’s actually proud of that simple little quip from last century. But does get more hilarious to those who see through Masnick.

Gwiz says:

For those new here, "Streisand Effect" is Masnick's only claim to fame.

Writers whether good or bad expose key premise in first sentence. This article is NOT about Ireland, it’s so Masnick can yet again wedge in the quip that’s his one claim to fame. — Heck, Masnick apparently pays the writers to work it in!

Masnick’s putting that in so often is NOT an inside joke, not intentional self-parody, he’s actually proud of that simple little quip from last century. But does get more hilarious to those who see through Masnick.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Enough sour grapes to start a whinery

So here’s the funny thing, if Mike’s only ‘claim to fame’ is that term, what’s that say about you that you’re apparently suffering from a near terminal case of envy of him, as evidenced by your obsessive posts regarding him and this site?

What have you done that’s of note, other than display enough sour grapes to start a whinery using someone else’s screen name, either to try and lend some legitimacy to your ranting, or hide your identity behind someone else’s in hopes that people won’t realize who you are?

Gwiz says:

Re: Re: Enough sour grapes to start a whinery

No one owns a screen name.

It’s hilarious that on this site which rails at control by copyright and trademark, that one can’t even use a screen name without being accused of infringing proprietary right to four characters.

This probably has come up before. Did you back anyone previously objecting to “their” screen name being used by others?

GOTCHA, and QED.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Enough sour grapes to start a whinery

It’s hilarious that on this site which rails at control by copyright and trademark, that one can’t even use a screen name without being accused of infringing proprietary right to four characters.

Wait. Where did anyone accuse you of “infringing proprietary right to four characters.”?

Hell, I’ve even given you permission to use mine a couple of years ago.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130227/14231422143/comcast-we-wont-terminate-your-account-under-six-strikes-well-just-block-every-single-website.shtml#c1393

This probably has come up before. Did you back anyone previously objecting to “their” screen name being used by others?

It has come up before and you claimed it was (incorrectly of course) “fraud”. Have you come to your senses nowadays or are you just a hypocrite?

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130227/14231422143/comcast-we-wont-terminate-your-account-under-six-strikes-well-just-block-every-single-website.shtml#c1562

GOTCHA, and QED.

Right back at ya.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Enough sour grapes to start a whinery

Is it really hilarious?

Is someone on here actually blocking anyone from using a screen name?

Is anyone accusing anyone of infringing proprietary rights?

What I see is someone being rather rude and inconsiderate, and others calling them on it. Freedom of speech (and freedom to ignore) and all that.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Enough sour grapes to start a whinery

It’s hilarious that on this site which rails at control by copyright and trademark, that one can’t even use a screen name without being accused of infringing proprietary right to four characters.

I thought your doing it was stupid, not infringing. Please go right ahead and look as stupid as you wish.

Are you really as thick headed as you look or are you just paid to look that way? Either way, no skin off my ass. I’m just curious trying to understand a strange phenomenon. And, I wish I could get in on the action. Your paymaster must be an intellectual imbecile. Good for you for reeling the idiot in.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Off topic...

Once again, TD is not a news site. It’s an opinion site. They often don’t bother to release timely comments on breaking news. They often spend time thinking and researching and understanding the nuances of an issue before they bother commenting on it.

NSA still wants the power to illegally snoop? No surprise there. Congress still don’t know what they’re doing wrt ignoring the 4th amendment? Same old, … McConnell is still stooging for the police state surveillance aparatus? Wake me up when anything changes.

sehlat (profile) says:

Recursive Streisand

Get an injunction against talking about the charges.

Get an injunction against talking about the injunction against talking about the charges.

Get an injunction against talking about the injunction against talking about the injunction against talking about the charges.

Continue until the legal system collapses under the weight of the injunctions.

Éibhear (profile) says:

Sequence of events

O Brien secured the injunction to prevent the national broadcaster, RTÉ, from broadcasting a story — probably with those same details. Ms Murphy’s comments were made in the Dáil (the Irish lower parliamentary house) yesterday. *After* the junction was granted. *And* her comments are granted privileged in our constitution.

O Brien’s lawyers say the injunction pre-empted the reporting of comments made under privilege. However, the injunction’s judgement hasn’t been issued yet, so we don’t know.

Also, the *official* report of the comments is privileged under the constitution, and they are available on the official record’s website: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20authoring/debateswebpack.nsf/takes/dail2015052800027

Whatever about the Streisand Effect, his lawyers need to be sacked for letting him think this information can be made unknown again.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

I Thought Under The Westminster System, Parliamentary Speech Was Protected

Certainly here in New Zealand, Members of Parliament can reveal things in the House that might not legally be discussed outside it, and the media are free to report the Member’s words as they were spoken in the House.

Think of it as an extra “check and balance”.

Not sure why this doesn’t apply in Ireland…

Truth in the News (profile) says:

Insanity + Dennis O'Brien

The attempt by Dennis O’Brien to silence the Irish Media
must be viewed in the context that he own’s a large section
of the Irish Media both print and radio,and is in a position
to influence what’s said or printed…hence the RTE injuction
Only one Internet portal defied him ….he has also been the subject
of a Judical Public Inquiry – Moriarty Tribunal which made
findings against him in relation to the procedure which a Mobile Phone licience was awarded which involved a Minister for Communication – Micheal Lowry

M. Alan Thomas II (profile) says:

We often complain that the Westminster-style countries often lack constitutional protections for speech. This is not 100% correct, as there IS usually a privilege to report on what is said in Parliament, often derived from the right to say anything in Parliament without it being punished elsewhere. (You will note that the U.S. is among the countries that inherited that underlying privilege.)

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