Extension in defamation case against Kerry County Council has been granted

An extension in a defamation case against Kerry County Council has been granted.

A representative for Keith McKenna of 1 Cloverhill, Killorglin, sought the extension in relation to a civil case, which alleges he was defamed by a staff member of Kerry County Council in 2013.

In Irish law, in usual circumstances a defamation action cannot be brought after one year from the date on which the cause of action accrued; however, a judge may grant an additional year in certain circumstances.

Barrister Katie O’Connell sought the extension for Mr McKenna in Tralee Circuit Court recently, where she claimed the application was made one year and four days after the alleged defamation.

She said the delay was due to a bereavement.

Ms O’Connell said that on the 6th and 7th December, 2013, her client, who was employed as a clerical officer with the council at the time, was attending a social gathering with work colleagues.

It’s alleged that Kerry County Council Financial Officer Angela McAllen defamed Mr McKenna by making allegations of dishonesty about the plaintiff’s role in purchasing a €6,000 printer.

The court heard it’s being alleged Ms McAllen said “I need honest people working for me.”

Defending barrister Liz Murphy claimed that the application to extend the 2013 case will re-open a 2004 issue.

She also said Mr McKenna is an “experienced litigator” and he is also taking High Court proceedings against the council for other matters.

Judge Tom O’Donnell granted the extension, saying both sides have been complicit in extending this matter; he says it’s been adjourned a total of ten times.

The defamation case will now go to a full hearing.