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Autism rights campaigner defends video on YouTube

Tuesday, 11th December, 2018 10:11pm
Autism rights campaigner defends video on YouTube

Fiona O’Leary has denied the video is defamatory

Aodhan O Faolain 

DEFAMATION proceedings have been taken against Drimoleague woman and well-known campaigner for the rights of children with autism, Fiona O’Leary. 

Anti-eviction activist Ben Gilroy and businessman Vincent Byrne of Ardgillan Close, Ardgillan Heights, Balrothery, Co Dublin have taken the proceedings against mother-of-five Fiona O’Leary who, they claim, defamed them in a 13-minute Youtube video she posted on June 23rd. 

Ms O’Leary, represented by barrister Patricia Sheehy Skeffington Bl and solicitor Rossa McMahon, denies that the post contains any defamatory remarks about the two men.

Ms O’Leary, the court heard, campaigns against those advocating the use of a substance called Miracle Mineral Supplement, (MMS) which has been held out to be a ‘cure’ for autism in children.

Ms O’Leary, who has acted as a witness for the authorities in prosecutions against those promoting the use of the substance, says MMS contains bleach and is harmful to anyone who consumes it. 

In a pre-trial motion, Mr Gilroy seeks an injunction requiring Ms O’Leary to take down the alleged defamatory video, which he says wrongly links him to the use and promotion of MMS, until the case has been determined.

Mr Gilroy  said Ms O’Leary described the use of MMS as a form of child abuse and said the ‘false allegations’ have very serious implications for him and his good reputation. 

Ms O’Leary denies the video is defamatory and opposes the injunction application on grounds that it breaches the right to freedom of expression, and rejects all of Mr Gilroy’s assertions.  

The court heard that it is accepted by her that Mr Gilroy did not engage in the use or promotion of MMS.

In September, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor directed that Ms O’Leary either take down the post at the centre of the dispute, or insert – either by a video clip or by text at the start of the video – stating her acceptance that Mr Gilroy is not engaged in the use or promotion of MMS. 

Ms O’Leary says she complied with that order by inserting the required text. However, Mr Gilroy says the video can still be seen on certain devices without the text. The hearing of the injunction application continues.