Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has been nominated for the Bullyer of the Year award by an organization campaigning against powerful individuals who use defamation laws to silence critics.
s McDonald was nominated for the award alongside Russian oligarchs including former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
A CEO of an energy company, a Serbian businessman, a Belgian lawyer and the Kingdom of Morocco were also nominated for the awards
The awards are organized by the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), which campaigns against powerful individuals waging Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs).
Ms. McDonald was nominated in the SLAPP Politician of the Year category.
The organization’s website says the award is given to a “politician who has relied most heavily on SLAPPs and legal intimidation to respond to opposition, dissent, or efforts at accountability.”
Her biography for the nomination says Ms McDonald is “not new to the SLAPP scene” but said her recent case against RTÉ “solidified” her reputation as a politician who uses defamation laws to her advantage.
The Sinn Féin chief is up against Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Greek politician Grigoris Dimitriadis.
Ms McDonald is also the only female nominee for the People’s Choice Bully of the Year award, where she is up against Mr Abramhovich, who was forced to sell his football club due to his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Tuesday night, Ms McDonald led the poll with 28 percent of the public’s vote.
Earlier this year, the Index on Censorship contacted the Council of Europe (COE) about Ms McDonald’s case against RTÉ, which referred to IRA rape victim Mairia Cahill, saying it posed a threat to freedom of expression in Ireland.
Index on Censorship Policy and Campaigns Manager Jessica Ní Mhainín said: “We are alarmed by the lawsuit that Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has filed against RTÉ, as we believe the lawsuit is characteristic of a strategic lawsuit against the involvement of the is public, or ‘flop’.”
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he knew at least three Fine Gael politicians who had received legal letters from Sinn Féin.
Former Fianna Fáil TD Declan Breathnach has been sued by Ms McDonald over comments on Twitter.
The Sinn Féin press office declined to answer questions about Ms McDonald’s nomination for a campaign group award.
However, Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin took questions on a range of issues from the media at a press conference organized after the party was criticized for not responding to inquiries.
Mr Ó Broin said Ms McDonald was personally funding her own lawsuit against RTÉ over a broadcast article Tomorrow Ireland earlier this year.
“The party does not fund or make decisions about whether individual members of the party decide to defend their good name in court, period. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact,” he said.
Mr Ó Broin said Ms McDonald should not win the Bully of the Year award. “She’s not a bully,” he insisted, adding that he had “no idea” if she would attend this Thursday’s awards ceremony – but he doubted she would.
Mr Ó Broin said he had not initiated any legal proceedings against any politician or media outlet.
But he warned Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael politicians, saying: “Stop telling lies about us and stop slandering us, it’s that simple.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/sinn-fein-leader-mary-lou-mcdonald-nominated-for-bully-of-the-year-award-over-libel-case-against-rte-42077128.html Sinn Fein CEO Mary Lou McDonald nominated for Bullyer of the Year award over RTÉ defamation lawsuit