Denis O’Brien, Ireland’s richest man, has used a high court injunction to block the country’s media from reporting on his personal finances, the BBC reports.
Media mogul O’Brien is the major shareholder in Independent News and Media, which owns the Belfast Telegraph. His fortune is estimated to be around £5bn.
The purchase of one of O’Brien’s companies from state-owned bank IBRC, formerly Anglo Irish Bank, has been discussed in the Dáil and O’Brien has won an injunction that prevents Irish media from uncovering the details of his finances that were mentioned during parliament.
According to the Guardian, Independent TD Catherine Murphy used Dáil parliamentary privilege to question whether the billionaire received a favorable interest rate of 1.25% with the state-owned bank, when the IBRC should have been charging him up to 7.5%.
Murphy claims the privilege enabled O’Brien to “pay off his own loans in his own time at low interest rates,” enabling him to purchase Siteserv company, the company currently involved in installing the controversial meters for the unpopular water charges in Ireland.
The Irish media have been prevented from reporting Murphy’s remarks in the Dáil because of the injunction.
RTÉ said it would be making an application to the high court next week to oppose the injunction on grounds including the right to freedom of expression and public interest.
The broadcaster said it had "consistently maintained that greater levels of disclosure is in the public interest; however we have complied fully with the court's decision.”