Feb 012010
 
 February 1, 2010  Court, Online

John Burns reports on a blogger defamation case in Ireland:

A blogger has agreed a €100,000 settlement after libelling Niall Ó Donnchú, a senior civil servant, and his girlfriend Laura Barnes. It is the first time in Ireland that defamatory material on a blog has resulted in a pay-out.

Barnes, an American book dealer, made a profit of up to €800,000 in 2005 from selling a cache of James Joyce papers to the state. One year later she began a relationship with Ó Donnchú, an assistant secretary in the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism.

In December 1, 2006, a blogger who styles himself as Ardmayle posted a comment about the couple and the sale of the Joycean manuscripts under the headline “Barnes and Noble”. Following a legal complaint, he took down the blog and in February 2007 he posted an apology which had been supplied by Ó Donnchú’s and Barnes’ lawyer, Ivor Fitzpatrick solicitors.

“I subsequently discovered that these remarks were inaccurate,” Ardmayle said. “I unreservedly apologise to both Laura Barnes and Niall Ó Donnchú in respect of this post.”

However, the pair subsequently issued separate proceedings.

Read more on Times Online.

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