GALWAY-BASED BUSINESSMAN and former political candidate Declan Ganley has been named in High Court documents in a case brought by Denis O’Brien against PR firm Red Flag.
O’Brien first filed a case against Red Flag Consultancy in 2015, alleging that it was involved in a conspiracy against him.
The billionaire businessman claimed a dossier about him compiled by Red Flag for one of their clients was part of a campaign to defame him and damage his reputation.
A notice of motion was filed last week which names Ganley as that client of Red Flag Consultancy, the Irish Times reported today.
That notice seeks to add Ganley as a defendant in the long-running court case.
However, in a statement to Fora‘s sister website, TheJournal.ie, a representative for Ganley said he had no involvement in this matter.
“This claim is odd, absurd, and untrue. Declan Ganley is not and was not a client of Red Flag. Mr Ganley continues to pursue a case against Mr O’Brien in relation to the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal,” they said.
Red Flag Consulting describes itself as a “team of expert strategists, campaigners and communicators” who “solve business critical problems and make effective interventions”.
The firm counts former Independent News and Media (INM) boss Gavin O’Reilly as one of its directors and Karl Brophy, an ex-INM journalist, as its chief executive. Denis O’Brien is the chief shareholder in the media group.
When the case was first brought in 2015, O’Brien claimed the company had been directed to make a dossier about him with the intent to defame him.
He claimed that he received a memory stick anonymously which had this dossier on it.
At the time, lawyers for Red Flag expressed “extreme concern” about how copies of documents from their computers ended up on a memory stick on Denis O’Brien’s desk.
Michael Collins SC, on behalf of the firm, acknowledged that the documents did originate from Red Flag, but raised the prospect that they may have gotten there by way of security breach, hacking or through someone persuading an individual to take them.
The documents in question contain about 80 media articles and other documents about O’Brien, including Dáil transcripts about the Siteserv transaction.
Find the identity
In October of this year, O’Brien had an appeal to find out the identity of the person who commissioned Red Flag to compile a dossier of material about him dismissed.
In the ruling document, Court of Appeal president Justice Sean Ryan, Justice Michael Peart and Justice Gerard Hogan stated: “Red Flag, as a consultancy, does not have to ensure that its clients’ motives are pure, legitimate and not simply hostile or “malicious”…
“Red Flag’s client was entitled to have the dossier prepared, even if this was done for the basest of motives. That in itself is not sufficient to establish a conspiracy on the part of that client or to demonstrate that Red Flag was itself a co-conspirator with the client.”
“If the Dossier was actually published by Red Flag and it has defamed the plaintiff, then Mr O’Brien has his remedy under the Defamation Act 2009. But … the plaintiff is not entitled to ascertain the identity of that client by means of seeking discovery from Red Flag.”
However, with this latest notice of motion issued, O’Brien is seeking to have Ganley put as a defendant in his ongoing case against Red Flag.
Ganley, who previously campaigned politically, is currently CEO of telecommunications company Rivada Networks.
He had previously been part of a consortium that failed to secure Ireland’s second mobile phone licence in the 1990s. This was won by O’Brien with Esat Digifone.
Lawyers for O’Brien will present their case for the granting of these orders on the next High Court sitting for the case on 29 January 2018.
Both Denis O’Brien and Red Flag were approached for comment.
Comments are closed as this case is before the courts
Written by Sean Murray and posted on TheJournal.ie