Singer Sinéad O'Connor is being sued by her former manager Fachtna Ó Ceallaigh and his company for alleged breach of contract and defamation.

The action is brought by both Mr Ó Ceallaigh and TAL Management Limited, a company he owns and controls which it is claims provided managerial services to the singer for several years for an agreed monthly fee plus commission and expenses.

In 2011 he claims the company was substituted for him under a new agreement.

While it was not executed it is claimed the parties performed the terms of the new agreement.

In April 2012 he claims that without warning the singer terminated the agreement.

It is claimed she was not entitled to do that and he seeks upwards of €500,000 damages for breach of contract, as well as declaration that the management agreement was not validly terminated.   

Mr Ó Cealliagh, of Lansdowne Park, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, also claims he was defamed by the singer in an open letter published on her website and on a fans  website in 2012, in reply to a newspaper article that referred to the ending of their commercial relationship.

The claims are denied. The singer denies she ever had any agreement with TAL or Mr Ó Ceallaigh as alleged or that he and the company are entitled to damages.

She also denies his claims that she defamed him in the letter as alleged.

A pretrial issue in the proceedings came before the Master of the High Court Mr Edmond Honohan. 

Mark Curran BL, for Mr Ó Ceallaigh and TAL Management, asked the Master for orders striking out Ms O'Connor's defences to the claims on the grounds that she had failed to comply with orders made for the discovery of documents and materials relevant to the case.

Counsel said the singer had consented to those orders, but discovery had not been made.

Mr Curran also said that Mr Ó Ceallaigh requires the materials sought in order to progress actions he had launched some years ago, and said the failure to provide the material had the effect of denying him justice.

He added that his client is not a wealthy man with many clients and is aged in his seventies.

In reply, Eoin O Shea BL, for Ms O'Connor, said the application to strike out her defences should be dismissed. Mr O’Shea said Ms O'Connor had "rock solid" defences to the claims.

It was accepted that the order for discovery had not been complied with.

Mr O’Shea said his client, who had switched solicitors twice since the proceedings were initiated, was taking steps to comply including getting files that had been with her previous solicitor.

Her actions were not those of somebody trying to delay the process, he said.

The court heard there were further difficulties caused by the singer's ill heath,

Mr O’Shea said not all the delay was due to his client.

He claimed the plaintiffs had done nothing for a year, and for a period the plaintiff company had been struck off for failing to file annual returns, before being reinstated. 

The Master said he was not going to sanction Ms O'Connor by striking out her defence, and granted the singer and her legal team an additional three months to comply with the discovery order.

He said he was "disheartened" that matters had not been progressed.

However he suggested that the actions could be progressed by Mr Ó Ceallaigh in the absence of discovery by Ms O'Connor. 

The court hearing the cases could take its own view on any failure to discover materials, the Master added.

Neither Ms O'Connor nor Mr Ó Ceallaigh were present for the brief hearing.