Mary Lou McDonald takes High Court case against RTÉ over alleged defamation

The Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has started High Court proceedings against RTÉ seeking damages for alleged defamation.

Ms McDonald’s claim is understood to relate to a discussion on Morning Ireland in February during which reference was made to the treatment of women who were sexually assaulted by members of Sinn Féin and the IRA.

The discussion followed a controversy over Government politicians being excluded from speaking at a rally organised by the National Women’s Council.

On Tuesday a Sinn Fein spokesman said: “”This is now a matter in litigation before the courts and it would be inappropriate to comment.”

The former Republican activist and Labour senator Máiría Cahill, who was not a contributor to the programme, has been highly critical of Ms McDonald’s attitudes towards her own case.

Ms McDonald’s defamation action against RTÉ is part of a growing trend by Sinn Féin figures to use the courts against what they believe to be false claims made by political opponents and members of the media.

Last year the Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire settled a High Court action for defamation against RTÉ for a sum believed to be in excess of €150,000 after a discussion on Liveline.

Recently, the MEPs Mick Wallace and Claire Daly also lodged proceedings against the broadcaster.

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