NUJ alarm over Andrews' libel action against Irish Times journalist

  • 11 Nov 2023

Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish secretary, describes Sinn Féin TD Chris Andrews' legal proceedings against political journalist Harry McGee and the Irish Times as a "sinister development."

Speaking at the union’s delegate conference in Dublin, Dooley said public figures should use the offices of the Press Ombudsman and Press Council rather than using libel actions as the first response.

He said:

“The decision of Deputy Chris Andrews to issue legal proceedings this week against The Irish Times and to our member Harry McGee, personally, is a sinister development. I would encourage public figures to use the alternative dispute resolution mechanism of the Press Ombudsman rather than the heavy hand of the libel laws, not least at a time when there is a political consensus that our libel laws are not fit for purpose.

“The use of SAPPs (Strategic Legal Actions Against Public Participation) is bad for journalism, bad for citizens and poisonous for democracy.”

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