Dana clears first hurdle in libel action

Dana Rosemary Scallon complained about an article in the Sunday World
Dana Rosemary Scallon complained about an article in the Sunday World

Eurovision Song Contest winner and former Irish presidential candidate Dana Rosemary Scallon has cleared the first stage in a newspaper libel action.

A High Court judge in Belfast held that some of the meanings she has attributed to parts of a Sunday World article are capable of being sustained.

However, he also ruled against her interpretation of other sections of the report.

The case, described by sources as a significant defamation action, could now proceed to a full trial later this year.

Ms Scallon first achieved fame after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970 with All Kinds Of Everything.

Born in London to a Northern Irish family, she went into politics in 1997 and served as an MEP for Connacht-Ulster.

She also twice stood unsuccessfully as an independent candidate in the Republic’s presidential elections.

Ms Scallon is seeking damages for libel and misuse of private information.

No details of the article at the centre of the case can be reported for legal reasons.

But Mr Justice Burgess was asked to make a preliminary ruling after the defendant’s qualified offer of amends was rejected.

He held that the offer to amend is inadequate to cover the issues set out in three of the alleged meanings.

The statement of claim does not, however, sustain two further meanings advanced by the plaintiff’s legal team.