Nine others are suing Independent News and Media and its former president, Leslie Buckley, for alleged data hacking.
Journalist Sam Smyth, former MNI director Andrew Donagher, former CFO Donal Buggy and former group treasury director Anne Marie Healy all claim damages for an alleged data breach in 2014 .
Documents tabled in the High Court on Friday show that former MNI employee Mandy Scott, public relations executives Mark Kenny and Harriet Mansergh – a daughter of former Fianna Fáil TD Martin Mansergh – and Rory Godson, former journalist and now a public relations consultant have also launched similar lawsuits. .
In plenary convocation, they denounce breaches of data protection, privacy, confidentiality and their constitutional rights.
Renowned media lawyer Simon McAleese, who represents seven of the litigants, files a separate personal complaint against INM and Mr. Buckley, who is also linked to an investigation by the Office of the Director of Company Law Enforcement (ODCE) . Mr. McAleese is represented by Dundon Callanan Solicitors, based in Limerick.
The state watchdog is investigating an alleged operation at the INM in 2014 to secretly download the newspaper publisher’s backup computer tapes to search for information on several personalities in his messaging system.
An affidavit from the Director of Law Enforcement, Ian Drennan, in connection with his request for the appointment of forensic inspectors to investigate the MNI, contains allegations that the alleged data breach was secretly engineered by Mr. Buckley, who chaired the board as a representative of its shareholder at the time, Denis O’Brien.
The company’s alleged activities could be part of “the broader use of INM for the benefit of” Mr. O’Brien at the time, said Mr. Drennan in his affidavit.
Mr. Buckley denies any wrongdoing.
The Data Protection Commission is conducting a separate investigation.
The nine new trials follow similar legal proceedings by former MNI executives Gavin O’Reilly and Karl Brophy, who in April successfully added Buckley as a defendant in their case against the publisher.
They alleged that Mr. Buckley was “heavily involved in the unlawful acts” committed against them.
In court documents, they refer to a previous “long power struggle” at the MNI between the family of Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. O’Brien.
Last year, they received court permission to use the ODCE affidavits in their case.
They contend that these affidavits show that the alleged data breach was carried out “under the direction” of Mr. Buckley.
Earlier last month, McAleese asked the court for similar authorization to rely on the same material for his and his clients’ cases against INM and Mr. Buckley.
Counsel initiates separate proceedings against the defendants, claiming that a statement by Mr. Buckley regarding an expensive legal contract between Mr. McAleese and INM was detrimental to him.