Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan
Solidarity TD, Paul Murphy has accused the Justice Minister, Charlie Flanagan of defaming him in a Dail exchange this week.
In a letter to the Ceann Comhairle, Deputy Murphy states that Minister Flanagan made "a defamatory accusation implying that Deputy Murphy had previously made threats against members of the House or others."
He claims that during exchanges between Deputy Murphy and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister Flanagan commented, "More threats."
The letter to the Ceann Comhairle, is signed by Solidarity TDs Deputy Murphy, Ruth Coppinger and Mick Barry.
The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar is also accused of defaming Deputy Murphy and being in breach of Standing Order 61 for his comments during Leaders’ Questions on 12 July.
The letter states: "Responding to the question the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, 'It may well be the case that the Deputy was not engaged in kidnapping, but it was thuggery and your behaviour was wrong.' This is a direct accusation of thuggery and is defamatory.
"He further remarked, “The protest was ugly, it was violent, it was nasty.” This is an allegation that Deputy Murphy was involved in a violent protest, which again is defamatory.
"The Taoiseach goes on to say, “For those of us who have seen some of the coverage of it that was broadcast on television, whether it was the anger, the virulence, the words that were being directed at two women going about their course of work on the day a water balloon being thrown in somebody's face, all of those things were behaviour that is unbecoming of a Member of this House, unbecoming of somebody who believes in democracy and unbecoming of somebody who has any respect for other human beings”. In these comments the Taoiseach clearly alleges that Deputy Murphy was involved in ‘anger’, ‘virulence’ and throwing a water balloon by saying that “all of those things were behaviour that is unbecoming of a Member of this House.” These are false allegations, which are defamatory.
"During these exchanges, Minister for Justice Deputy Charlie Flanagan said “More threats”. This is a defamatory accusation implying that Deputy Murphy had previously made threats against members of the House or others.
The letter concludes: "Deputy Murphy has been found not guilty of false imprisonment. It is also a matter of public record that Deputy Murphy never engaged in, nor encouraged violence or threatening or abusive behaviour in any way. Deputy Murphy is entitled to have his good name and integrity upheld against these allegations and insinuations.
"We believe that the defamatory nature of these remarks may not have been apparent to the Ceann Comhairle at the time, and in line with Standing Order 61 (3) would request that you consider the remarks made by the numerous Member of the House outlined above."