Defamation

Businessman Settles Claim for Defamation on Twitter


 

Declan Ganley has settled his claim for defamation on Twitter against blogger Kevin Barrington out of court for an undisclosed charitable donation.

Declan Ganley – a respected businessman and founder of the pan-European political party Libertas – made a claim for defamation on Twitter after being the victim of “abusive, offensive and false allegations” posted on the social media site by blogger Kevin Barrington in December 2012.

According to the businessman´s solicitor, Declan Ganley initially chose to “turn the other cheek” and ignore the allegations. However, after the volume of abuse escalated, he was put into a position where he had no alternative but to take legal action and make a claim for defamation on Twitter.

The claim for defamation on Twitter is believed to be the first made in Ireland, and it was resolved when Kevin Barrington agreed to remove the offensive Tweets, make a public apology to Declan Ganley in his blog and over Twitter and make a substantial charitable donation to the Poor Clare Sisters.

Legal experts believe that this is not the last claim for defamation on Twitter that will be seen in Ireland. The same defamation laws apply to comments made online as they do to comments published in a newspaper, made on TV or on the radio, and Twitter accounts are not as anonymous as some users believe they are.

Speaking to the Herald, media lawyer Paula Mullooly explained “Generally what you do in those circumstances (where there is an anonymous account) would be to ask Twitter to take down the information. Secondly, you would ask Twitter to identify the IP address. If [Twitter] decline, you can take Twitter to court. This happens not infrequently. You can even track to an internet café.”