The former editor of the Sunday Business Post Ian Kehoe said he put the name Denis O'Brien on the front page of the paper because he was, in football terminology, "Barcelona".

Mr O'Brien is suing the Sunday Business Post over articles published on 15 March, 2015 giving details of a 2008 report by accountants PwC into Ireland's banks.

Mr O'Brien says the articles portrayed him as one of the "developer kings" who destroyed the country and bankrupted its banking system.

The newspaper denies defamation and says the articles did not have the meanings claimed by Mr O'Brien.

Ian Kehoe was questioned by Luán Ó Braonáin, barrister for Mr O'Brien, about his decision to put eight names on the front of the paper, out of the 22 borrowers mentioned in the report.

Mr O'Braoináin said Mr O'Brien did not go bankrupt, did not cost the State billions of euro and did not go into NAMA.

Mr Kehoe said he never suggested he did any of those three things.

Mr O'Braonáin then asked why Mr O'Brien was number six of eight names put on the front page of the paper, when he was not number six in the group of 22 borrowers, and he put it to Mr Kehoe that he thought he would "lob him in" to sell newspapers.

Mr Kehoe said journalists write about well known individuals and that Denis O'Brien is Barcelona, Sean Quinn is Man United. He then added that, as a Liverpool supporter he might put Mr O'Brien as Liverpool.

He said Mr O'Brien was in there because he was the tenth biggest borrower in the State and that there was no malice in the decision to put the eight names on the front page.

Mr Kehoe also said he stood by the article and would print it again in the morning.

Mr Kehoe was also questioned about the use of the word "They" on the front page of the paper - in the heading "The Files They Don't Want You To See'.

He said "they" referred to the Government. Mr  Ó Braoináin put it to him that "they" referred to the 22 men, but Mr Kehoe said he did not agree.

Mr O'Braonáin asked Mr Kehoe about a section of the article that said the 22 borrowers had an exposure of €8.8 billion to development land.

Mr O'Braonáin said that Mr O'Brien did not have any of that exposure; that 14 of the borrowers did and eight did not and Mr O'Brien was one of the eight. Mr O'Braonáin said: "You are identifying the 22 as being collectively responsible."

Mr Kehoe said he disagreed.

Mr O'Braonáin then said there are only 22 words in the article saying that Mr O'Brien went on to repay his debts and is now one of the banks' best clients, assuming anyone even gets to that after trawling through the rest of it.

He said: "By the time you get to the needle in the haystack it's too little too late."

Mr Kehoe said he disagreed and that he did not think there was any damage done to Mr O'Brien as a result of the article.

Mr O'Braonáin put it to him that Mr O'Brien was never in NAMA and did not cost the State a penny in respect of his loans, but that that was not made clear until 22 words, tucked away in the report and that that was not good enough.

Mr Kehoe said he thought it was perfectly good enough and that he would publish the article again, that he did not see any issue with it.

Mr Kehoe's evidence has now concluded.