« BackKenmare man awarded damages against well-known artist for defamatory Twitter comments

court gavel book from PixabayA Kenmare man has been awarded damages in the Circuit Civil Court against well-known artist Kevin Sharkey over “highly defamatory” comments he wrote on his Twitter account.

Quantity surveyor Garrett O’Mahony, of Gortnadallagh, Kenmare claimed the artist had called him a racist.

Mr. Sharkey didn’t appear in court, nor was he legally represented.

Circuit Court President, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke awarded Mr O’Mahony €5,000 damages along with his legal fees which could cost Kevin Sharkey another €10,000.


Barrister Karl Sweeney, for Garrett O’Mahony, said that the proceedings arose after his client replied to a comment posted on Kevin Sharkey’s Twitter account about a picture published in a newspaper.

The court heard that Mr O’Mahony then received a tweet which was “outrageous and deeply offensive, calling him a racist.”

Mr O’Mahony claimed the post was grossly defamatory of him. He’d been using his Twitter account for business purposes and had around 1,400 followers at the time.

Mr Sweeney told Mr Justice Groarke that two years ago, his client was granted injunctions against Mr. Sharkey, directing the artist to remove the alleged comments.

Counsel said the comments were removed a couple of weeks after the court order but had remained publicly visible for a month.

At the time, Mr Sharkey had denied in an email that the Twitter account was his.

The court heard that Mr O’Mahony, had taken “investigative steps” to establish that the Twitter account belonged to Kevin Sharkey.

Mr Sweeney said there’d been no communication from Mr Sharkey since the proceedings were initiated, apart from the email. Counsel said Mr O’Mahony had been granted a judgment in default of appearance and today’s case was one of assessment of damages only.