For legal reasons, I can’t yet say publicly what he’s upset about except that I think it’s ridiculous and I’m standing by what I wrote because I believe it is true.
I did the same when, for instance, his colleagues John Finucane and Michelle O’Neill threatened to sue me. I care about free speech, which I consider a basic human right and a vital pillar of a democratic society which is under threat in Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Sinn Féin seems to use many lawyers and it has few inhibitions about suing.
Right now Gerry Adams is suing the BBC, and Mary Lou McDonald has filed a legal action against RTÉ in terms that have alarmed the Index on Censorship, a London-based media freedom group, which has now filed a media freedom alert with the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists.
They believe her action is “characteristic of a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or ‘Slapp’”.
Several good people I know have had to pay costs and damages for claims that would have been laughed out of court in England, where the defamation law was reformed. Politicians blocked a similar reform in Northern Ireland.
I‘m particularly concerned about many republican threatening letters or writs that are out there causing great distress to individuals who fear being ruined financially but are scared to speak up. I believe it’s time to be open about this.
If anyone has been threatened with a libel action by a member of Sinn Fein and would like some advice, they can email me at [email protected] or write to me at the News Letter, address on opposite page in the print edition, and I’ll pass the information on to my solicitors.
• Ruth Dudley Edwards main column: Higgins has delighted SF by politicising Irish presidency
• Owen Polley June 20: The DUP should not let down its guard on the NI Protocol
• Ben Lowry June 18: John Bolton’s criticism of Ireland reflects a strain of US thinking
• WB Smith June 17: London should read John Oliver on Northern Ireland
• Esmond Birnie June 16: Why the Protocol status quo is not beneficial to Northern Ireland
• Barrister June 15: EU misuse of Belfast Agreement is biggest threat to NI stability since 1998
• Ben Habib June 15: Protocol Bill is a con and does not advance unionist cause
• Ruth Dudley Edwards June 14: Boris has flaws but I still hope he’ll unlock protocol
• Peter Robinson June 14: DUP should stay out of Stormont until protocol bill is fully enacted