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Legal threat to Irish blogger

Prof. John Crown threatens legal action over a blog post in which he was criticised.

Clare Herbert's blog

BLOGGER and journalist Clare Herbert has received a threat of legal action over  a blog post she wrote in December.

Herbert wrote a post entitled “Brian Lenihan’s illness & TV3″ on December 27. The post critcised TV3 for the station’s report on the announcement that Minister Brian Lenihan had pancreatic cancer.

It also made specific criticisms of Professor John Crown, the well-known oncologist and critic of the HSE, who was interviewed in the TV3 report. Crown took up the criticism in the comments section of Herbert’s blog, and she replied, but declined to make any changes to the piece.

A debate ensued, with Crown writing: ”I have no wish to stifle your freedom of expression. The law allows you to express any opinion you wish. You should not however make serious unsubstantiated and extraordinarily damaging allegations about me or about anyone.”

The blogger replied, saying: “Readers of this blog can read both my contribution and your comments and make up their own minds. I, too, consider the matter closed.”

But the matter wasn’t closed, and Herbert revealed on Twitter today that she had received an email threatening legal papers. If the action goes ahead, it will only be the second known instance of a blogger in Ireland being sued.

Earlier this year an Irish blogger agreed to a €100,000 payout after allegedly libelling a senior civil servant and his girlfriend.

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Daire Hickey

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