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regret Seán Quinn’s son-in-law, Niall McPartland, says he made 'right to be forgotten' requests

Mr McPartland said he made the requests on his own behalf and the Quinn family did not know of the requests before he made them

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Niall McPartland and his new bride Ciara Quinn with Ciara’s father Seán Quinn on their wedding day in 2007. Articles about the €1m nuptials, including a cake that cost €100,000, were among hundreds of webpages delisted by Google. Photo: Frank McGrath

Niall McPartland and his new bride Ciara Quinn with Ciara’s father Seán Quinn on their wedding day in 2007. Articles about the €1m nuptials, including a cake that cost €100,000, were among hundreds of webpages delisted by Google. Photo: Frank McGrath

Niall McPartland and his new bride Ciara Quinn with Ciara’s father Seán Quinn on their wedding day in 2007. Articles about the €1m nuptials, including a cake that cost €100,000, were among hundreds of webpages delisted by Google. Photo: Frank McGrath

A son-in-law of ex-billionaire Seán Quinn has told the Irish Independent that he made the requests which led to a large number of press articles about the family being ‘forgotten’ by Google.

Niall McPartland, husband of Ciara Quinn, said he now wished he had never made the requests, given the media coverage they have attracted.

He alleged some of this coverage was “incorrect” and insisted he made the requests on his own behalf and that neither his father-in-law nor the five Quinn siblings, including his wife, knew of the requests before he made them.

His comments came just over a week after the Irish Independent reported that members of Mr Quinn’s family had mounted a successful campaign to have press coverage about their past ‘forgotten’ by Google.

Mr McPartland, a solicitor, married into the family in 2007 and was employed by Quinn Insurance.

More recently he has been involved as chief compliance officer at QuinnBet, the ­family-run online bookmaker launched in 2017.

Articles about the Quinn family’s legal battles and Mr McPartland’s €1m wedding to Ciara Quinn, involving a cake reported to have cost €100,000, were among hundreds of webpages ‘delisted’ from Google searches under EU privacy law.

The decision was taken by Google under the ‘right to be forgotten’, which was established following a landmark ruling of the Court of Justice for the European Union in 2014. It gave individuals the right to request the delisting of webpages from internet search results, when certain search terms are used, where the information is considered “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive”.

But it is not an absolute right and public interest factors, such as a person’s role in ­public life, must also be considered.

Google notifies Irish publishers when an article is delisted but does not disclose the identity of the requester or the search terms.

While a delisted article continues to exist on the publisher’s website, it can be harder to find via Google.

Mr McPartland was frequently named or pictured in reports dealing with the ­family’s legal travails and lifestyles.

“I do not want the publicity. It is something I never courted,” said Mr McPartland.

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“I brought the delisting application in good faith to remove searches relating to my name only, ‘Niall McPartland’.”

He said it was incorrect to suggest this was done to inhibit the public from accessing articles about Seán Quinn or the Quinn family online.

Mr McPartland also claimed the media coverage the issue has received “defeats the whole purpose of bringing such an application”, criticising the decision by Independent.ie and other publications to republish weblinks for delisted stories over the past eight days.

“I believe the approach adopted by the media in this instance is questionable and not in the spirit of the European Court of Justice ruling, which affects the rights of every private citizen in this country,” Mr McPartland said.

The Irish Independent is aware of at least 131 articles about the Quinn family and 20 photographs of members of the Quinn family, including in-laws, which were delisted from Independent.ie in September and October.

The Irish Times has reported that 74 items were delisted from its website.

The Irish Examiner said 55 of its items had been delisted, while The Irish News also said a number of its stories were affected.

Among the delisted articles was a court report on the settlement of an action against Mr McPartland by a company formerly controlled by the Quinn family over payments of more than €6m made to him in 2008.

Quinn Finance claimed the payments were to meet ­margin calls on shares in Anglo Irish Bank and there was no record of the payments being authorised by the company.

But lawyers for Mr McPartland said he had “nothing to do” with the payments, did not stand to make any personal gain from them, and had rather made a serious error and acted “unwisely” in letting that company use his name while engaging in ­company trading.

Speculation on Anglo shares ultimately cost Seán Quinn his business empire and he was declared bankrupt in 2012.

Another delisted article reported how the five Quinn children, Mr McPartland, and another son-in-law of Seán Quinn, Stephen Kelly, were hit with temporary freezing orders, limiting access to their bank accounts, income and property in 2012.

A further delisted piece outlined court allegations by Anglo’s successor, Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, that the family of Mr Quinn, including Mr McPartland, were to receive large severance payments from Russian companies in the Quinn international property group if their employment was terminated.

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