In an action for damages for libel brought by Minister for Defence, Patrick Cooney, Longford-Westmeath TD, the Editor of the Sunday Tribune, Vincent Browne and the publishers of the newspaper have been given three weeks by the High Court to file a defence.
Mr Peter Kelly representing Mr Cooney said that in an article in the newspaper on January 1st very serious allegations were made against Mr Cooney in respect of the carrying out of his duties as Minister for Justice some years ago.
The proceedings had been instituted after an undertaking had been sought to publish an apology which was not forthcoming. They had had the greatest difficulty in attempting to serve the summons on Mr Browne. On four occasions they had attended at his office; on three of these occasions they were told he was at a meeting and on the fourth occasion they were unable to see him.
The article dealt principally with events concerning Mr Sean Doherty and was written by Mr Browne, who stated that his telephone had been tapped to discover who in the Gardai was feeding him with material in connection with the finger print affair.
In addition the article stated that two senior members of the fingerprint section of the Garda Technical Bureau had effectively fabricated fingerprint evidence against an innocent man.