Keaveny v Geraghty

Judgment Date13 July 1965
Date13 July 1965
Docket Number(1962. No. 582 P.)
CourtSupreme Court
Keaveny v. Geraghty.
(1962. No. 582 P.)

Supreme Court.

Motion to stay proceedings - Libel action - Form of order - Rules of the Supreme Court (Ireland) 1905, Order 25, r. 5 - Rules of the Superior Courts, Order19, r. 28.

The plaintiff instituted proceedings in the High Court in which he claimed damages for libel. After delivery of the statement of claim an application was made on behalf of the defendant to have all further proceedings in the action stayed on the ground that the said proceedings were 1, frivolous, 2, vexatious, 3, an abuse of the process of the Court, and 4, that the statement of claim disclosed no cause of action. Murnaghan J. made the order sought, and on an appeal by the plaintiff to the Supreme Court, it was

Held by the Supreme Court (Lavery, Haugh, Walsh and O'Keeffe JJ.; Ó Dálaigh ó dálaigh C.J. dissenting) affirming Murnaghan J., that the appeal should be dismissed.

Per Walsh J. (with whom Haugh and O'Keeffe JJ. agreed): The order of the High Court should be varied by deleting therefrom the provision that all further proceedings in the action be stayed, and by substituting therefor the provision that no further proceedings in the action be taken without the leave of the Court first obtained and that if any such proceedings be taken in the action without such leave being obtained the defendant should not be required to appear to or take any steps in relation thereto and such proceedings so taken should be treated as void and of no effect.

Notice of Motion.

On the 25th April, 1956, the defendant, Michael A. P. Geraghty, as acting county secretary of the County of Roscommon, wrote to W. H. Bushell, town clerk for the town of Boyle, in the following terms:—"I am to inform you that according to the schedule of uncollected rates submitted by collector J. McLoughlin an amount of £7 0s. 10d. in respect of arrears of rates appears to have been outstanding and unpaid on the 31st March, 1956, against a Mr. Matthew Keaveny and I understand that there is a member of the Boyle Town Commissioners of that name and you might ascertain if it is the same person.

I am also to direct your attention to the provisions of section 57 of the Local Government Act, 1941."

This letter was discussed at a meeting of the Boyle Town Commissioners and a report of that meeting was published in the Roscommon Herald, a newspaper circulating in the district. The plaintiff, Matthew Keaveny, instituted proceedings in the Circuit Court by separate civil bills in which he claimed damages for libel against the proprietors of theRoscommon Herald and against the Boyle Town Commissioners Both proceedings were dismissed by the Circuit Judge and on appeal to the High Court on Circuit the appeals were also dismissed.

On the 7th April, 1962, the plaintiff issued an originating plenary summons in which he claimed from the defendant damages for libel. On the 15th May, 1962, he delivered a statement of claim in the following terms:—

"(1) Matthew Keaveny, plaintiff, was a compositor employed by the Herald Works, Boyle, in the County Roscommon and was a member of the Boyle Town Commission.

(2) Michael A. Geraghty, defendant, is secretary of the Roscommon County Council.

(3) The defendant, Michael A. Geraghty, wrote a letter to Mr. William Bushell Manager of Boyle Social Welfare office and Town Clerk of Boyle, that the plaintiff, Matthew Keaveny, owed the sum of seven pounds and tenpence rates and was disqualified from sitting on Boyle Town Commission. The letter was dated the 25th day of April, 1956.

(4) Consequent on the reading of this letter sent by the defendant, Michael A. Geraghty, to Mr. Bushell, Town Clerk and Manager of the Boyle Branch of the Social Welfare office, at a meeting of the Boyle Town Commission the commissioners present—Mr. Thomas Callan, solicitor, Mr. Thomas Egan and Mr. R. Kelly—declared the plaintiff, Matthew Keaveny, disqualified to sit on the Boyle Town Commission.

(5) The plaintiff was co-opted at a meeting at a later date.

(6) The plaintiff was dismissed from his employment with Herald Works, Boyle, in March 1957 on the termination of actions for slander and libel against the aforementioned Mr. Bushell, Town Clerk and Boyle Branch Social Welfare office, Mr. Thomas Callan, solicitor, chairman, Mr. Thomas Egan and Mr. R. Kelly, Boyle Town Commissioners present at the meeting and against Mr. Patrick Joseph Nerney, The Warren, Boyle, Mr. Christopher Callan, The Warren, Boyle, Mr. John Tobin O'Hanrahan, surgeon, proprietor of Roscommon Herald, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.

(7) The plaintiff, Matthew Keaveny, was unemployed from March, 1957, to March, 1959. The plaintiff was held up to contempt and ridicule and lowered in his credit and injured in the pursuit of his trade.

(8) The plaintiff was never tried by a lawful court and found disqualified from being entitled to sit on the Boyle Town Commission.

(19) The plaintiff was never sued for £7 0s. 10d. rates and denies that he was legally responsible for the payment of such sum.

10. The defendant, Michael A. Geraghty, is not a person appointed to administer justice and he had no right to direct that Boyle Town Commissioners sit as a court to administer justice.

(11) The plaintiff, Matthew Keaveny, claims the sum of five thousand pounds as compensation for loss of earnings, injury to health and being debarred from sitting on the Boyle Town Commission and for injury to his credit and pursuit of his trade."

The defendant applied to the High Court by motion on notice, dated the 14th June, 1962, seeking an order that all further proceedings in the action be stayed on the grounds that the said proceedings were 1, frivolous, 2, vexatious, 3, an abuse of the process of the Court and 4, that the statement of claim disclosed no cause of action. By order, dated the 15th July, 1962, Murnaghan J. ordered that all further proceedings in the action be stayed. From this order the plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court.

Cur. adv. vult.

ÓDálaigh ó dálaigh C.J.:—

This appeal is against an order of Mr. Justice Murnaghan, dated the 15th July, 1962, staying all further proceedings in this action and ordering the plaintiff to pay the defendant his costs of action, including the costs of the defendant's motion to stay the proceedings.

The defendant's motion asked that the proceedings be stayed on the grounds that the proceedings were (i) frivolous; (ii) vexatious; (iii) an abuse of the process of the Court; and (iv) that the statement of claim did not disclose a cause of action against...

To continue reading

Request your trial
5 cases
  • Grimes v District Justice Smithwick
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 1 Enero 1991
    ...JUSTICE SMITHWICK, THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLICPROSECUTIONS AND THE MINISTER FOR TOURISM AND TRANSPORT RESPONDENTS Citations: KENNY V GERAGHTY 1965 IR 551 Synopsis: ACTION Institution Restraint - Application - Refusal - Judicial review - Three applications within one year - Prevention of further......
  • Superwood Holdings Plc v Sun Alliance
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 1 Marzo 2017
    ...those proceedings would be treated as void and of no effect. The original form of this type of order is set out in Keaveny v. Geraghty [1965] I.R. 551. The purpose of the jurisdiction is to protect the court process from abuse. As stated by Keane C.J. in Riordan v. Ireland [2001] 3 I.R. 3......
  • Riordan v an Taoiseach
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 11 Mayo 2001
  • Morgan v The Labour Court
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 1 Marzo 2023
    ...determine if they are vexatious. 25 . What amounts to vexatiousness was addressed by Lavery J. in his decision of Keaveney v. Geraghty [1965] I.R. 551 where the test for vexatiousness was expressed as follows: “Does any one who has acquainted himself with the facts as alleged in the pleadin......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Cogley v. RTE and Aherne v. RTE
    • Ireland
    • Trinity College Law Review No. IX-2006, January 2006
    • 1 Enero 2006
    ...ILRM 529, at 539. IoIbid., at 539. 11 Hereinafter "ECHR'. 12 Article 8 of the ECHR protects the right to privacy. 13 Keaveney v. Geraghty [1965] IR 551, at 560,per Lavery J. [Vol. 9 Trinity College Law Review Human Rights and in England. In Von Hannover v. Germany, the European Court of Hum......
  • Isaac Wunder Orders
    • Ireland
    • Irish Judicial Studies Journal No. 1-1, January 2001
    • 1 Enero 2000
    ...proceedings * LL.B. (Ling. Germ.), LL.M. (Cantab.), B.L. 1Supreme Court, unreported, Walsh, Haugh and O’Keeffe JJ., 24 January 1967. 2[1965] I.R. 551. 2001] Casenote: Riordan v. An Taoiseach were indeed vexatious, and made an order in the form approved by the court in Keaveney, directing th......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT