The former business editor of the Sunday Business Post has said no one would think any less of businessman Denis O'Brien because he had borrowed a lot of money from Anglo Irish Bank.

Tom Lyons told a jury at the High Court that Mr O'Brien had not a clue what was happening in the failed bank and what happened there was not Mr O'Brien's fault.

He is being cross-examined in Mr O'Brien's defamation action against the Sunday Business Post in relation to articles published in March 2015.

Mr O'Brien claims the articles portrayed him as one of a gang of 22 "developer kings" who over-borrowed, destroyed the country and bankrupted the banks. The newspaper says the articles do not mean what Mr O'Brien claims they do.

The Business Post says the articles were based on a confidential report by accountants, PwC to the Government in November 2008.

The newspaper listed the 22 biggest borrowers from Ireland's banks at the time in an article headlined "The gang of 22".  It said Mr O'Brien, who was 10th on the list, owed €1 billion in total to Irish banks, most of which was owed to Anglo Irish Bank.

Senior Counsel, Paul O'Higgins, for Mr O'Brien asked why Mr Lyons had referred to the individual stories of the borrowers as "telling and disturbing".

Mr Lyons said from Mr O'Brien's perspective, there was nothing wrong with his borrowings from Anglo. However he said from the public's point of view, it was disturbing that anyone would owe such a large amount of money to a bank which had been nationalised and had allegations of fraud around it.

He said the articles were not defamatory of Mr O'Brien. No one would think any less of Mr O'Brien from reading the articles he claimed. 

He said it was not Mr O'Brien's fault what happened in Anglo - he said Mr O'Brien "hadn't a clue" what was going on in the bank.

Mr Lyons denied the articles meant Mr O'Brien was among those responsible for the financial crisis.

Mr O'Higgins suggested the articles unfairly meant Mr O'Brien was among 22 people who had a land and development exposure of almost €9bn when Mr Lyons knew Mr O'Brien had no development loans. 

Mr Lyons denied this and said the articles identified him as someone who has various loans for property.

Mr Lyons also denied a suggestion that a graphic with the words "Top Secret" on the front page of the newspaper, naming Mr O'Brien with seven other borrowers, involved selecting Mr O'Brien as being among the principal offenders.

Mr Lyons said they were just well-known people in the PwC report.

Mr Lyons was questioned about an article by journalist, Gavin Sheridan headlined "People of influence, people of blame."

Mr Lyons has told the court he commissioned this piece in the context of the banking inquiry, which was about to call key witnesses.

Asked who the newspaper was naming as being responsible for the financial crisis, he said they were naming the Taoiseach, the financial regulator and others including developers, in the context of the inquiry. 

He said the newspaper did not have the answers about who was to blame but those answers were waiting in the inquiry.

Mr Lyons said Mr Sheridan was not writing about what happened to Mr O'Brien but what happened to Ireland.

Mr O'Higgins put it to him that he should have written a different headline and that they might not be in court if he had. Mr Lyons said they would have to agree to differ.

Mr Lyons told the court that the story they published was a "really good" one and he believed readers of a newspaper like the Sunday Business Post would follow such a story all the way through from the front page to the articles on the inside pages.

Mr O'Higgins put it to him that from a newspaper's point of view, above the centrefold, on the front page, was "the biggie" - the most prominent part of the paper.

Mr Lyons said it depended how you picked the newspaper up, but agreed that even if you did not buy the newspaper, if you glanced down you might see that part of it.

Mr O'Higgins also returned to the meaning of the word "gang".

He said he had been looking on the internet and found a Canadian group of musicians who were popular from 1939 to 1956.

Mr Lyons said he would be more familiar with Kool and the Gang.

Mr O'Higgins also took him through references to Mr O'Brien having a "gang" of friends in a biography which Mr O'Brien claims he has not read.

The cross-examination will continue tomorrow.

 The jury has been told the case is likely to finish next week. One juror has been excused as she had a holiday booked but the case is continuing with 11 jurors.