Mother of teen who died by suicide takes Gemma O’Doherty to High Court for ‘exploitation of son’s image’

Gemma O'Doherty

Diego Gilsenan

Eoghan Moloney and Mark Tighe

The mother of a young man who died by suicide has issued High Court proceedings against Gemma O’Doherty for what she says is the “exploitation of her son’s image” in an article suggesting a link between young people’s deaths and Covid vaccines.

Diego Gilsenan (18), a Cavan native, died in August 2021 by suicide, and his mother, Edel Campbell, claims his image is wrongly being used by Ms O’Doherty, as the publisher of The Irish Light newspaper.

Ms Campbell claims the activist and journalist has been using the image of her son for “her own purposes and agenda,” and is now “reluctantly” issuing court proceedings after “all pleas have been ignored”.

Diego Gilsenan

A statement issued by Mulholland Law, who are representing Ms Campbell, said: “These proceedings have been reluctantly brought by the Plaintiff, however given the continuing conduct of Ms O'Doherty as the publisher of The Irish Light newspaper our Client felt she has no alternative”.

The statement accuses Ms O’Doherty of trying to, “sensationalise the unfortunate death of Diego Gilsenan with inflammatory rhetoric, unfounded conspiracies and the unauthorised and misappropriate use of our Client's son's image is utterly shameful”.

“It was hoped by our Client that a compassionate approach may have been adopted by Ms O'Doherty and that she refrained 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.”

“Given the absence of specific legislation at the moment from the Oireachtas dealing with grotesque publications, High Court proceedings have been issued. We believe our Client's rights pursuant to Bunreacht an hEireann have been breached,” the statement said.

In an edition of the freesheet published by O’Doherty in late 2022, a photograph of Diego Gilsenan (18) is among 42 photos of young people on the front page who the conspiracy theorist states “died suddenly”.

Inside the publication, O’Doherty suggests the deaths of the teenagers and young adults whose photos she has published are linked somehow to Covid vaccines.

“The faces on our front page are just a small fraction of those young Irish who were struck by the plague of ‘sudden death’ in 2021/2022. We have no definitive proof as to how they died because the media is covering that up and their families have largely chosen not to speak,” Ms O’Doherty alleged.

One of the young men whose image is used died in a drowning accident. Another is of a young woman who died from head injuries during a camogie game in a freak accident. Others whose photos are used died from a range of medical conditions, such as Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) as well as meningitis. Others, including Diego, tragically took their own lives.

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