Sinn Féin politicians and party activists have been involved in at least 18 legal actions against media organisations, journalists, public representatives and other individuals over the last decade or so, a Sunday Independent analysis has found.
More than a third of these are ongoing, including some before the courts, with the party under unprecedented scrutiny over the number of lawsuits involving representatives and members.
As well as criticism from its political opponents, chiefly Fine Gael, a coalition of press freedom organisations wrote to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald this month to state that the number of legal actions “points to a co-ordinated campaign against the media in Ireland”.
It is a charge strongly rejected by Mary Lou McDonald and her party. The party leader’s own High Court action against RTÉ for alleged defamation — which the broadcaster is expected to defend vigorously — is among the 18 cases analysed by this newspaper. At least six of these have involved settlements where, in some instances, tens of thousands of euros have been paid out to Sinn Féin representatives and members.
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