Garden builder sues TV personality Diarmuid Gavin in defamation claim
Posted on 3rd January 2023 at 21:17
Dermot Kerins, who built many of Gavin’s most famous gardens, issued High Court proceedings against the celebrity garden designer
Celebrity garden designer and television personality Diarmuid Gavin is being sued for alleged defamation by a long-time associate who built some of his most famous gardens.
Dermot Kerins and his company Outlook Gardens Ltd issued legal proceedings against Mr Gavin the week before Christmas, according to records filed with the High Court in Dublin.
Mr Kerins, whose company has offices in Dublin, Surrey and Nice, built a number of Mr Gavin’s acclaimed gardens, including two award-winning projects at the Chelsea Flower Show.
It is understood his legal action relates to posts on Mr Gavin’s Instagram social media accounts in October and November which Mr Kerins claims are allegedly defamatory. The posts have since been deleted and any legal claim is expected to seek damages over the posts.
Dublin solicitor Simon Carty, who is representing Mr Kerins, confirmed that legal proceedings had been issued against Mr Gavin but declined to comment further on the case.
Efforts to contact Mr Gavin for comment proved unsuccessful. When contacted by phone about the legal proceedings last month, his wife Justine Keane said: “No comment”.
Dublin law practice Hayes is representing for Mr Gavin.
The two gardeners have been involved in litigation against each other in the past.
Mr Gavin took High Court proceedings against Mr Kerins four years ago, lodging an injunction against him in December 2018 over a row between the men. High Court records show that Mr Carty has come on record for Mr Kerins in that action last month.
Mr Kerins, who is from Kenmare in Co Kerry, met Mr Gavin while they were volunteering with the house-building charity, the Niall Mellon Township Trust, in South Africa in 2007.
In an article in The Irish Times, published in 2011, Mr Gavin wrote that he had watched “in awe” at Mr Kerins’s work for the charity. He also complimented the garden builder’s “no-nonsense approach”, ability to negotiate “tense” work situations and his “diligence”.
Mr Kerins worked as project manager for Mr Gavin at the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show helping him win a gold medal for his “Irish Sky Garden”.
The following year, he built Mr Gavin’s “Westland Magical Tower Garden” at the show, which won a silver-gilt and “most creative in show” award at the 2012 show.
Since April, Mr Kerins has been working as managing director of The Plant Collector, specialising in sourcing and supplying plants from his base in Celbridge, Co Kildare, in addition to his work through his company Outlook Gardens.
The company builds gardens in London and the south-east of England from his offices in Cobham, Surrey and along the Cote d’Azure in the south France from his office in Nice.
In an interview with The Sunday Times in 2013, Mr Kerins spoke about how much he enjoyed working with Mr Gavin on garden projects.
“He’s relaxed and you’re really working as a team, which is the beauty of it,” he said.
“He creates great excitement and inspires huge commitment. I think it’s because he really involves people. They genuinely have an input. It’s really intense and it’s full-on but at the end of the day we have a very similar vision.”
Mr Gavin has been equally complimentary of his former colleague’s work. He said that his garden creations “would remain pretty pictures on paper” if it wasn’t for the Kerryman.
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