A woman whose son died by suicide is suing former journalist Gemma O’Doherty over the use of his photograph and linking his death to the Covid-19 vaccine.
Diego Gilsenan, of Kingscourt, Co Cavan, was 18-years-old when he died in August 2021. His mother, Edel Campbell, has now initiated High Court proceedings against Ms O’Doherty as publisher of The Irish Light newspaper.
Mr Gilsenan’s image was one of 42 photographs used in a montage in the publication, which claimed the deaths of the people in the pictures were linked to the Covid-19 vaccine.
Ms Campbell alleges that Ms O’Doherty had sought to “sensationalise the unfortunate death” of her son with “inflammatory rhetoric”. It is alleged that she had done this via “unfounded conspiracies and the unauthorised and misappropriate use” of the deceased teenager’s image, which Ms Campbell describes as “utterly shameful”.
In a media statement on behalf of Ms Campbell, Dundalk-based law firm Mulholland Law said the High Court proceedings had been “reluctantly” commenced as their client felt she had “no alternative” given the “continuing conduct” of Ms O’Doherty.
“It was hoped by our client that a compassionate approach may have been adopted by Ms O’Doherty and that she refrain from the exploitation of her son’s image and tragedy for her own purposes and agenda, however this did not materialise, and all pleas have been ignored,” said Ciaran Mulholland, principal solicitor at the firm.
He added that “given the absence of specific legislation at the moment from the Oireachtas dealing with grotesque publications” High Court proceedings had been issued.
Ms Campbell alleges her Constitutional rights have been breached by the “repeated actions” of Ms O’Doherty in a manner that “amounts to a campaign of harassment”.
A comment has been sought from Ms O’Doherty.