Daly v Irish Transport and General Workers' Union

CourtSupreme Court (Irish Free State)
Judgment Date01 January 1926
Date01 January 1926
Docket Number(1923. No. 11,308.)
Daly v. The Irish Transport & General Workers' Union
(1923. No. 11,308.)

Supreme Court.

Practice - Pleading - Libel - Innuendo - Plea of no libel - Whether innuendo covered.

In an action for libel, the plaintiff having set out the words complained of in a separate paragraph in his statement of claim, alleged in another paragraph that the words were meant and understood to bear the meanings attached to them in twa separate innuendoes. The defences pleaded were: 1, a traverse of the publication; 2, a plea that in their ordinary and natural meaning the words complained of were true in substance and in fact; 3, a traverse of the innuendoes; 4, a plea of fair comment confined to the words complained of in their ordinary and natural meaning; 5, that the words complained of were no libel. At the trial specific questions were put by the learned Judge to the jury on the issues of publication, justification, the two separate innuendoes, and fair comment, followed by the question: "Were the said words or any of them a libel on the plaintiff?" The jury found for the plaintiff on the publication and one of the innuendoes, for the defendants on the plea of justification and the second innuendo, and they further found that the words were no libel. Judgment was entered for the defendants, and the plaintiff moved to have judgment entered for him on the ground that the plea of no libel, as pleaded in the case, did not cover the innuendoes, and should be confined to the publication of the words complained of in their ordinary and natural meaning.

Held, that the plea of no libel covered the innuendoes, and that the finding of no libel entitled the defendants to judgment.

Motion by the plaintiff for judgment.

The plaintiff, Patrick T. Daly, sued the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union and others for libel. The plaintiff was secretary of the Dublin Trades Council; he was also a printer and compositor, and had from time to time been employed as a printer's valuer and as a press reader. The defendants were proprietors, publishers, and printers of a newspaper called "The Voice of Labour."

In the statement of claim the plaintiff averred (par. 3):—

3. On or about the 16th day of June, 1923, the defendants falsely and maliciously printed and published and caused to be printed and published of the plaintiff and of him in the way of his profession or occupation in the issue of the said newspaper ["The Voice of Labour"] of that date the words following:—"Larkin's right-hand man and chief adviser is P. T. Daly, who was expelled in discredit from the National movement by Tom Clarke and Sean M'Dermott, and, later, dismissed from the service of the I.T. & G.W.U. for gross mismanagement and neglect of duty . . . Even Larkin has accused Daly of disruptive tactics

in several recent speeches. Another instance of the consistency of the wrecker who takes it upon himself to establish a dictatorship in this organisation."

4. By the words in the said issue, dated the 16th June, 1923, the defendants, and each of them, meant and were understood to mean:—

(a) That the plaintiff was expelled from the National organisation, of which he had been a member for about 25 years, in discredit, and because he had been guilty of dishonourable and unworthy conduct, so as to unfit him for membership of the said organisation.

(b) That the plaintiff had been dismissed from the service of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union Approved Society, of which he had been acting secretary from October, 1914, until the 8th day of June, 1919, because of gross mismanagement and neglect of duty, and that by connivance or negligence the plaintiff was responsible for the embezzlement of the funds of the said union by John Johnson, who afterwards, namely, at the Easter Quarter Sessions, on the 8th day of May, 1923, was convicted of these embezzlements in the Court of the Recorder of Dublin, and sentenced to three years' penal servitude.

5. On or...

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