'Myopic liberals in shock'

Steven King returns from Canada (BTW Congratulations Steven) to the Belfast Telegraph (ah well) with reaction to the launch of what ATN obviously hope will be their new flagship title, Daily Ireland. – he notes the expensive colour adverts paid for by NIO Departments [though no PSNI ads.. yet], and wonders if it will be more successful than Eddie Shah’s little-lamented Today newspaper.

His first impressions –

The layout is similar and the prejudices about America and Israel are the same but, while The Independent is occasionally a little too understanding of Sinn Fein, Belfast’s newest morning tabloid is unashamedly republican.

Readers did not need to wade through the buzzwordy editorial to gather that: the adjoining cartoon said it all.

Tony Blair is depicted showing off a portrait of Gerry Adams, replete with devilish horns, to Bertie Ahern and Michael McDowell. The caption was “…and, obviously, framed by experts…”

You pay your 50p and you takes your choice. Daily Ireland is dark, dark green, a comment the publisher, former Sinn Fein councillor Mairtin O Muelloir, will take as a compliment.

He does, though, find some points to praise –

…leaving to one side the tiresome ethos of the paper, Daily Ireland has its strong points. Like the crossword. And the weather report.

I jest. Daily Ireland is cleanly executed, very strong on sport – there is even a page on disabled sport – and has a useful business page. There is lots of use of colour too, although some of the skin tones look a little green: a production problem, not some bias in the printing press, it would seem.

Before tackling the funding controversy –

Reportedly, there have been demands for grants of up to £3m.

And, yes, you heard it right – this is a paper called Daily Ireland seeking money from the very Government it wants out of Ireland.

Already, hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been thrown at the Andersonstown News Group which counts the North Belfast News, South Belfast News and La, the Irish language paper, as well as Daily Ireland, among its titles.

Mairtin O Muelloir, himself no fool, obviously takes Her Majesty’s Government for one. And, based on past experience, he is right to do so.

If Daily Ireland were wholly funded from private sources, there could be no objection. But Tony Blair is in a different category. His machinations here have already had the effect of encouraging the growth of political parties at the ends of the spectrum.

He has a suggestion for the next political/business venture though –

VAT-free Sinn Fein washing powder?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    What NIO paid for advertisements is he on about? I saw O Muilleoir being interviewed and he simply stated that he hoped government departments would advertise in his paper as they do across the other three daily papers. Not an unreasonable request, given that a lot of these adverts concern employment opportunities.

    Good to see that despite his newly married status Steven hasn’t (yet) lost his sense of humour. To describe the £70 million demanded by the UDA as a ‘few million’ was deliberately disingenuous as was the linking of that demand with a legitimate application for government grant.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Fair play to Steven for a very balanced opinion on the latest daily in the stable. I’m sure he won’t be a regular subscriber but acknowledges that the paper is not without its virtues – which is a mark of maturity in one who differs so profoundly with the paper’s editorial line.

    And congratulations to him once again on his nuptials.

  • peteb

    Pat, I think he’s referring to adverts by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board – page 11, Viridian (supported by the Dept Enterprise Trade and Investment) page 14 and Environment and Heritage Service (DOE) page 25 – 3 out of the 8 adverts I counted ouside the classifieds.

  • aquifer

    Grant aid. Local newspaper competing with other locals. Wierd. Don’t see the government auditor arriving anytime soon though.

  • The Devil

    I wonder will Martin Miller give advertising discount to the Northern bank!

    I also noticed in the for sale section of Daily Ireland “white van, carful owner, forensicly clean, as seen on TV, cash offers only.

    In the lost section “phone number for Columbia 3” contact Catriona Ruane.

    But strangely the Columbian government were refused a Wanted ad.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Having read it yesterday, I didn’t think much of it. But then, I would say that wouldn’t I?

  • cg

    yes you would say that

  • Christopher Stalford

    Come on Gaskin, you know it was rubbish! Hardly a high quality lay out or serious standard of journalism.

  • cg

    Why is that christopher?

    The paper is pro-nationalist and unashamed of that fact. At least it doesn’t hide the fact that it takes a certain stance the way the stoop Irish News and others do

  • cg

    “serious standard of journalism”

    I didn’t mention your column on a saturday 😉

  • Christopher Stalford

    Always nice to meet a reader!

  • Christopher Stalford

    Always nice to meet a reader!

  • cg

    It always makes me laugh 😉

  • Jacko

    What’s this nonsense about MI being a “pro-Nationalist” paper. Call it like it is, or are you ashamed to say it – it’s a pro-IRA paper.

  • Christopher Stalford

    A bit like Sinn Fein denials of IRA involvement in the Northern job then?

  • Christopher Stalford

    A bit like Sinn Fein denials of IRA involvement in the Northern job then?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Pat, I think he’s referring to adverts by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board – page 11, Viridian (supported by the Dept Enterprise Trade and Investment) page 14 and Environment and Heritage Service (DOE) page 25 – 3 out of the 8 adverts I counted ouside the classifieds.’

    I know what he’s at peteb but it is shoddy writing assuming they were paid for by the NIO. Those adverts were paid for by the individual departments, the NIO is a separate entity.

  • Davros

    Why didn’t an phoblacht just go daily, or would it have been too difficult to maintain the “standard” it reaches as a weekly ? 😉

  • peteb

    If you “know what he’s at”, Pat, then why the question to begin with?

    And it isn’t disingenuous to place responsibility for the Departments’ actions and spending with the NIO (that’s why Spellar et al get the criticism they do). After all – “The Secretary of State, assisted by his team of Northern Ireland Office Ministers has assumed responsibility for the direction and control of the Northern Ireland Departments”

  • cg

    Jacko

    “What’s this nonsense about MI being a “pro-Nationalist” paper”

    No one mentioned MI being a “pro-Nationalist” paper. I did say DI was a pro-Nationalist paper.

    “Call it like it is, or are you ashamed to say it – it’s a pro-IRA paper”

    I would love to say there’s a pro-IRA daily paper but that just isn’t true and I would never be ashamed to admit it if there was one.

    ………………………………………….

    Davros

    “Why didn’t an phoblacht just go daily, or would it have been too difficult to maintain the “standard” it reaches as a weekly ? ;)”

    I would love to see An Phoblacht go daily

    As to the question of it’s standard were it to go daily, lets just say it couldn’t be as bad as that stoop rag you enjoy so much 😉

  • Davros

    I would love to see An Phoblacht go daily

    Jeepers … do you mean some people take it seriously ?

  • cg

    of course Davros, It’s gospel 😉

  • Jacko

    CG

    Sorry about that, of course I meant to type DI. It’s just, I was thinking of all that gov. money and the bauld Scapp and things like that and MI slipped out. Silly me, eh.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    peteb,

    Emphasising that in your rush to trumpet King putting the boot into the newspaper you hadn’t noticed such an obvious mistake.

    Minor jobs such as placing adverts are the responsiblilty of department heads not the policy of the NIO, didn’t you know that? Obviouslly King isn’t the only one who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  • peteb

    “an obvious mistake”.. hmm.. and there was me thinking it was a conspiracy designed to taint the Daily Ireland by associating it with those dreaded NIO ‘securocrats’. Ah well.

  • drumcree

    I wonder how this new voice of republicanism will spin their brotherhoods withdrawal from the decommissioning process – either criminality and terrorism is wrong or it’s not – there is no inbetween – I suggest Steven holds his praise of the Daily Ireland until they reveal their “colours” on this most fundamental of issues

  • Jacko

    Pat McClarnon

    “Minor jobs such as placing adverts are the responsiblilty of department heads not the policy of the NIO”

    I think it’s you who is confused.

    It doesn’t matter whose “responsibility” it is to place the ads. nor whether doing that is a “minor job” or not – the department heads are following a “policy” of placing such ads and that “policy” is laid down by the NIO.

    Are you seriously suggesting that if the NIO opposed the placing of ads. in DI that they would be placed anyway?

    Do try and keep up.

  • davidbrew

    unfortunately a couple of days after the launch the billboards have started going up-“Daily Ireland-worth rising for”-geddit??
    But I fear nuances like that will be missed by the majority of readers, as will the pastiche of Private Eye’s Dave Spart which passes for editorial

  • davidbrew

    unfortunately a couple of days after the launch the billboards have started going up-“Daily Ireland-worth rising for”-geddit??
    But I fear nuances like that will be missed by the majority of readers, as will the pastiche of Private Eye’s Dave Spart which passes for editorial

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Jackass,

    All such matters were devolved to dept heads when the Executive was up an running, it was never rescinded.

  • peteb

    Pat

    Play the ball not the man.

  • Jacko

    Pat, Pat, Pat … my old friend and fellow poster, please read this very, very slowly – Department Heads follow policy in such matters that has, firstly, been drawn up by the NIO, and then, secondly, set down for them by the same aforesaid NIO.

    There now, that should clear that up for you.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Jack,

    repeating erroneous assumptions ad nauseum merely makes you appear incapable of intaking the truth.
    So here goes, for your benefit.

    We had a devolved administration, right. That administration was set up under parliamentary legislation, not the NIO, right. Under that administration ministers to the Executive were devolved powers on how their departments should be run, right. Department heads were delegated the relatively minor power to advertise where and when they should, right. That power has never been rescinded, right.

    You should be able to access my e-mail if you need any further educating on the subject please do so through that medium. Such public displays of ignorance are embarrassing all round.

  • willowfield

    In theory, Pat is correct, since each department would have its own policy on advertising.

    However, in practice, in a direct rule scenario, all departments follow the NIO line. The minister of Agriculture is not going to have a different policy than that of his boss.

  • idunnomeself

    Pat’s right, from what I gather different Departments have different policies, and these aren’t going to be changed by the NIO under ‘care and maintenance’ situation we are in.

    EG you’ll notice some Departments advertise in Irish in some newspapers and others don’t, organisations like the planning service advertise in local newspapers, while other organisations don’t.

  • Jacko

    “and these aren’t going to be changed by the NIO under ‘care and maintenance’ situation we are in.”

    ‘…aren’t going to be changed by the NIO’, indicates that they COULD be changed by the NIO if they were of a mind to, kind of proves my point actually.

    Bye Pat, me aul mucker.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Jackeen,

    ‘Could’ like whitewash covers a multitude of sins and er mistakes.