Law Politics

Denis O’Brien – confusing Ireland with Haiti

Parallel universes have become quite the topic du jour lately, with Denis O’Brien threatening to sue Waterford Whispers for a satirical article.   Deducing solely from a letter written by Meagher Solicitors on behalf of Denis O’Brien, the article seems to have lampooned the mega-billionaire, describing how, in a parallel universe, a different parallel Denis O’Brien receives a 20-year prison sentence for improper payments to parallel politicians.

They assert that this satirical article is defamation which of course requires that a person’s reputation be lowered in the eyes of a right-thinking member of society.

Did the Waterford Whispers post lower Denis O’Brien in my estimation as a right-thinking member of society?


I already held him in extremely low esteem after the things said about him by the Moriarty Tribunal which, found that he had paid a government minister large amounts of money and that the same minister subsequently helped him to secure the second mobile phone licence on which his fortune is based. Denis O’Brien did not sue the Moriarty Tribunal for these findings, even though they are, on the face of it, grossly defamatory if they are untrue.

He did, however, choose to issue legal threats to a bloke with a laptop on his kitchen table, which is essentially what Waterford Whispers amounts to.

He also chose to issue legal proceedings against our national parliament, for failing to discipline elected members who spoke disrespectfully about him.

Now, the fundamental law in Ireland is the Constitution.  It’s the document on which everything else is based, and it’s written in reasonably plain language, as all laws should be.

Anyone can understand this.

The members of each House of the Oireachtas shall, except in case of treason as defined in this Constitution, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest in going to and returning from, and while within the precincts of, either House, and shall not, in respect of any utterance in either House, be amenable to any court or any authority other than the House itself.

Let’s leave out the bit about being stopped on the way to the House and focus on the part that annoys Denis.

The members of each House of the Oireachtas  … shall not, in respect of any utterance in either House, be amenable to any court or any authority other than the House itself.

Got that?  It’s so simple, even a billionaire could get it. Even a billionaire’s lawyer, for that matter.

Translated into even simpler language, it says that no court in the land can tell elected members what not to say in the national parliament. It says that the parliament can make its own mind up about its own rules. And by implication, it says that if angry billionaires don’t like it, they can go and get stuffed.

Ireland, despite all its flaws, is a constitutional democracy, not a country where some random oligarch can dictate the shape of the law, but Denis doesn’t seem to understand that.  Perhaps Denis has been spending too long in the land of Papa Doc and Baby Doc where no such concerns have ever applied.


Denis O’Brien and that pesky parliament

Parliamentary democracy can be a bitch when you’re a billionaire oligarch.

There you are, having paid your dues soldiering under Tony Ryan at GPA.  You’ve been one of those insufferable GPA arseholes flying all over the world negotiating wet leases and dry leases and leases that will be grand if you just  leave them in the hot press for an hour or two.

You did that. You flew to Argentina at a moment’s notice.  You had no life. You did whatever it took to lease a plane to some drooling idiot because you knew.  You just knew that you were the anointed, that it would all turn out right and you’d make it in the end.

You put up with Ryan, the uneducated son of a Tipperary train-driver.  You tolerated his grandiose notions, far above his station.  You put up with his giving you orders, even though you had that MBA from Boston College, while all he had was a Primary Cert and a licence to ride a messenger bike.

You! for fucksake. Talking to you like that.

Yes, you, who were born to greatness.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, you had to put up with that muppet O’Leary, Tony Ryan’s twenty-something prick of a personal assistant, condescending to you, patronising you and then you had to put up with him becoming head of Ryanair after Tony completely fucked up the flotation of GPA, leaving you jobless.

What’s a proto-oligarch to do?

Everywhere, people disagreeing with you, telling you what to do, not accepting your opinion.

It must have been torture for you, but now you’re in the driving seat.  It wasn’t easy, but here you are at last.  All you needed was control of the State’s second mobile phone licence to provide your first measly €300 million and and now, finally, you’ve arrived.  You can tell people what their opinions are and they can’t disagree with you because you are The Man.

You are the Slayer of Nations.

You are God.

Sadly, however, O God, you are not yet omnipotent, which means that you are a bit of a demi-god, or perhaps no more than a minor imp, because in your hubris, you have miscalculated badly when seeking to intimidate the parliament of a sovereign nation.

Parliaments — even those riven with division — react badly to being bullied and Ireland for all its faults is still a parliamentary democracy.

Likewise, O God, you’ll need to brush up on social media, and in particular a phenomenon known as the Streisand Effect, whereby the more a celebrity tries to stifle publication, the further it spreads.

Oh dear God, you really are a very old-fashioned demigod, aren’t you?

I will confess, however, that your spokesman, James Morrissey, brought a nostalgic tear to our eyes with his inflated sub-Haughey bombast, last heard in the 1980s, and no longer taken seriously by anyone in Ireland.   It’s touching that you stay loyal to such an outdated mouthpiece.

O demigod, you will no doubt huff and puff. You will go to the High Court where you will lose.  You will, beyond question, take your complaint to the Supreme Court, and you will lose there too.

What a revelation for the Irish people that even an infallible demigod such as yourself could be such an idiot.

No wonder we’ve all lost our religion.