The written answer to two Parliamentary Questions earlier this week (on Tuesday 21 February 2023) provides hope for imminent publication of the long awaited the General Scheme of a Defamation (Amendment) Bill, including the introduction of an anti-SLAPP mechanism.
Deputy Catherine Murphy TD (pictured above left) asked the Minister for Justice if his Department has been engaging with the European Parliament in relation to the proposed directive on Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation; and to detail what anti-SLAPP mechanisms his Department is considering for domestic legislation.
Deputy Patrick Costello TD (pictured above centre) asked the Minister for Justice the status of the proposed introduction of an anti-SLAPP mechanism in Irish law (details supplied), as committed to in May 2022; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Justice Simon Harris TD (pictured above right) took both questions together and replied (links, and emphasis, added):
On 1st March 2022, the Government approved publication of the Report of the Review of the Defamation Act 2009 and the development of a General Scheme of a Defamation (Amendment) Bill on foot of the Report.
As the Deputy has noted, a key recommendation in the Report is to introduce a new ‘anti-SLAPP’ mechanism – referring to Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation – to allow a person to apply to court for summary dismissal of proceedings that he/she believes are a SLAPP.