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Man Ordered to Pay Compensation for Defamatory Comments Posted on Facebook

A County Monaghan man has been ordered to pay €75,000 compensation for defamatory comments posted on Facebook about the National Director of the NARGC.

Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court heard that on or around December 22, 2015, John Gilsenan from Castleblayney in County Monaghan posted defamatory comments on Facebook relating to the way in which the National Director of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) had managed the Association´s finances.

The defamatory comments alleged that Desmond Crofton – from Stonestown in County Offaly – had made decisions regarding the organisation´s finances that had caused the NARGC “to go broke”. After other members of the Association had been alerted to the comments, a confrontation ensued, and Crofton was suspended from his position as National Director on full pay.

Crofton took legal advice and claimed compensation for defamatory comments posted on Facebook against Gilsenan. At the Monaghan Circuit Criminal Court, Judge John O´Hagan was told that Gilsenan had initially contested the claim, but had since abandoned the matter and – as the claim was now uncontested – the case was before the judge for the assessment of damages only.

After hearing the facts of the case, Judge O´Hagan ordered that Gilsenan should pay Crofton €75,000 compensation for defamatory comments posted on Facebook. The judge commented that he was awarding Crofton the maximum amount possible in order to “teach people posting messages on the social media site to be very careful”.