Kerry garda sergeant secures injunction ordering election candidate to remove all posts about her

Jul 10, 2024 17:40 By radiokerrynews
Kerry garda sergeant secures injunction ordering election candidate to remove all posts about her
Michelle Keane, Independent Candidate for the Castleisland Area, County Kerry, at Dail Eireann. Photo: Tony Gavin
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A Listowel-based garda sergeant has secured an interlocutory court injunction ordering a 2024 local election candidate to remove all online posts made against the Sergeant.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Francis Comerford has granted the court injunction to Sgt Melanie Walsh against independent Kerry Co Council candidate, Michelle Keane.

Ms Keane was an unsuccessful candidate for Kerry County Council in the Castleisland electoral area in the recent local elections.


The action arose from Ms Keane surreptitiously recording a phone conversation between herself and Sgt Walsh in April and posting it online with accompanying comments and follow up posts.

In his ruling, Judge Comerford said that what was being said about Sgt Walsh by Ms Keane “did not flow in logic from the transcript of the phone call”.

Judge Comerford has also granted an injunction ordering Ms Keane and any other party acting in concert with her from making any future statements about Sgt Walsh online.


Judge Comerford found that online posts made by Michelle Keane highlighted in Sgt Walsh’s affidavit are defamatory.

As part of the injunction, Judge Comerford has also prohibited Ms Keane from forthwith publishing any personal information on Sgt Walsh that breaches her privacy.

Judge Comerford granted the injunction pending a determination of the proceedings and has granted costs against Ms Keane.


Judge Comerford noted that Ms Keane did not attend court but stated that he was satisfied that she was on notice of the proceedings.

In Sgt Melanie Walsh's affidavit read out by Thomas Wallace O’Donnell BL, Sgt Walsh stated that she believed that the motive of the posts was to cause “significant damage to my reputation both personally and as a garda sergeant".

Sgt Walsh was assigned to Listowel Garda Station in March of this year after serving at Killarney Garda Station.


She said that in March, she was requested to investigate complaints about Ms Keane and these complaints were alleged racist and homophobic posts she had published across various social media platforms.

She said that having reviewed the posts and spoken to her inspector, she believed that the best course of action was to contact Ms Keane and arrange to meet her informally and tell her that the language employed was causing offence and a number of complaints were received.

On April 17th, Sgt Walsh spoke to Ms Keane by phone to arrange to meet her.


On April 18th  after working a night-shift, Sgt Walsh said that she was woken by her son at 9.15am as he thought that something serious had happened due to the number of mobile phone beeping notifications.

Sgt Walsh said that some of the notifications were from Garda colleagues who were offering their support and she quickly learned that Ms Keane had posted their phone conversation across several social media platforms.

She said: "Whilst most of the comments elicited were supportive, some of them were brutal, particularly on TikTok."

“Some of these comments called for me to be harmed - one such comment read - "that sergeant should be a gun emoji referencing that I should be shot”. Another one read - that sergeant should be beaten with her own baton’”.

Sgt Walsh stated that she is not afraid of Ms Keane but “with the posts of some of her followers on social media platforms I am afraid of them”.

She said: "I became a Garda in 1994 and two of my Garda classmates have both lost their lives in shooting incidents while on duty."

She said: "Never before have I been subject of a complaint or subject to disciplinary action as a Gardai.”

Sgt Walsh stated that Ms Keane’s May 2nd post read ‘GSOC investigation into Sgt Melanie Walsh of Listowel Garda Station???’

However, Mr Wallace O'Donnell stated that Ms Keane's GSOC complaint against Sgt Walsh was deemed inadmissible.

Sgt Walsh stated that Ms Keane's campaign against her “seems to have stemmed from a single call I made on April 17th”.

She said: “There is no interpretation of the call where I could be deemed to be threatening or aggressive towards the defendant."

She said that unless restrained by the court, Ms Keane “will continue to defame, harass and cause emotional suffering to me”.

Sgt Walsh stated that she is living “in a state of intense insecurity such as I have become very reclusive”.

Through her solicitor, Brian Long, Sgt Walsh declined to comment after the case.

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