Bertie Ahern’s Lawyer Threatens Irish Political Website

Somebody calling themselves Saul of Tarsus started a new thread on entitled Grainne Carruth. (You’ll remember Gráinne Carruth as the secretary who presented such damaging evidence against Bertie). In the first post on that thread, Saul of Tarsus included comments about Frank Ward & Co, Bertie’s lawyers.

Some people replied to the post but nobody repeated the comments, and no further libel was committed against anyone else, such as, for instance, Bertie Ahern or Fianna Fáil.

Somebody then changed the title of the post to Grainne Carruth, Frank Ward & Co

You’ll never guess what happened next. Seán Dorgan, Fianna Fáil’s Secretary General, just happened to stumble across the post the following day, as your average Secretary General does while randomly surfing the internet, and he noticed these remarks concerning Frank Ward & Co.

Mr Dorgan immediately felt compelled to notify Frank Ward & Co, and the possibly non-existent company duly wrote a snotty letter to, demanding among other things the names and addresses of six people who posted comments on the thread, thuswise:

We also now formally call upon you to identify, giving full name and address, of the following contributors who appear to go under these user names:-

1. saul of tarsus
2. droghedasouth
3. constable adams
4. JCSkinner
5. toxicavenger
6. the analyst 2007

This demand, you’ll agree, displays a deep ignorance of how such boards work. Apparently the letter’s author doesn’t know that there would be no record of the posters’ names and addresses. He also doesn’t seem to know that he’s instructing to commit a breach of the Data Protection Act. Of course, you might also speculate that he knows perfectly well how the system works, but is simply displaying an ugly inclination to intimidate those who might have a view about Bert.

Either way, I think it’s a deeply sinister development.

Incidentally, my in-house lawyer tells me that under Irish law solicitors are not permitted to incorporate, and that therefore there can be no such legal entity as “Frank Ward & Co”. If there’s no such entity, then by definition it can’t have been defamed, in which case their letter is nothing but a heap of intimidatory bluster and horse-shit.

Here’s what the ethereal FW&Co say about themselves on their web site:

Our Firm is a boutique style practice specialising in Private Client services. We strive to provide a complete professional service to our Clients and to respond to their needs through all areas of General Practice. Our aim is to provide a complete Client orientation and to develop a thorough understanding of the particular needs and ambitions of our Clients and to realise the same.

So you see, as well as being lawyers, they’re also a boutique which means they’ll make sure you’re well turned out in court, and I think they do hairdressing too. Unfortunately, they plainly they don’t do writing very well, so I wouldn’t advise going to them for English lessons, but apart from that they’re probably very nice fellows.

JC Skinner has a good summary of the whole thing and Mulley has written about it here.


13 thoughts on “Bertie Ahern’s Lawyer Threatens Irish Political Website

  1. God, that’s heavy-handed, all right. There’s no question they intend to intimidate with that.

    The good thing about situations like this is that, now they’ve made a fuss, more people will go and read the site in question and make up their own minds.

  2. Sam: No. they took down the post, but it really makes no difference since this is being discussed everywhere.

    Rockmother: ‘fraid not.

  3. Holy shit! I hope someone has told Eoghan Harris about this travesty! He will surely join the cause of righteousness on this one…..

  4. Oh yeah, I forgot about Eoghan Harris. Of course, you’re right. He’ll be appalled by this and instantly resign from the Senate in protest.

  5. Ridiculous. And Harris won’t resign, he’ll be on Newstalk or some other station bleating about the ‘unfairness’ to all and sundry.

  6. … as Frank Ward & Co are describing themselves as a “boutique style practice [providing] a complete professional service” I’m wondering if they [edited]…. sorry I meant blow-drys!

    It’s a spiteful act and illustrates the sheer arrogance that has ALWAYS been the hallmark of Fianna Fail.

  7. I wonder would FW & Co represent anyone who was thinking about bringing a case about limitations on free speech.

  8. I’m a lawyer so I’ve always been the paranoid type but this really takes the biscuit. Solicitors firms are not limited companies but using “& Co” as a trading name is permitted. But it’s pure intimidation and legally nonsense – how can a law firm consider itself defamed purely by association directly or indirectly with a client and/or witness? Utter shite.

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