Publish and be damned (or possibly lose your house!)

Tom Raftery brings up the subject of blog libel, and how it applies to Irish blogs.

He notes:

TJ McIntyre told me that simply by publishing an article, you can lose your house. “It doesn’t matter if the article is defamatory or not – if someone decides to take a case against you, the cost of solicitors and barristers will run into the tens of thousands. Very few bloggers can afford that.â€? And if you have no house or tangible assets? I asked. Then, the courts can make an arrangement to have the amount deducted from your salary until it is paid off, TJ informed me. They are very flexible like that. He’s just trying to scare-up a few more clients, I thought!

Is your house not something protected by the constitution? I think you can claim to be a ‘man of straw’ and inability to pay. Anyway the point still stands about the nature of libel laws in Ireland.

Will a Press Council, as it is currently being envisaged, even know what bloggers are?

7 thoughts on “Publish and be damned (or possibly lose your house!)”

  1. (Didn’t someone a while back declare Twenty Major to be the canary of the Irish blogoshere?)

    We may have a while to go yet before Boggersphere personalities attract the litigious attention of politicians/hacks/tycoons. Or someone may find themselves hit with a malicious and unwarranted SLAPP tomorrow, courtesy of the spite of some a$$hole.

    I’ve seen more than a few dodgy statements made over the past six months – the Liam Lawlor episode being a case in point. Does merely repeating a libel constitute a credible defence?

  2. The constitution says that “the dwelling of every citizen is inviolable and shall not be forcibly entered save in accordance with law”, which is the reason why the police can get search warrants for where you live, but your landlord can’t just burst in in you’re renting. It does not however, protect you from having to surrender your house as an asset if need be.

  3. But is there a history in case law of judges making people homeless on the basis of libel action?

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