SF's O Caolain "guaranteed return" on investment in paper

A very interesting report in the Irish Independent. It seems that the Sinn Féin leader in the Dáil, TD Caoimhghin O Caolain canvassed investors for ‘Daily Ireland’ – the “not a Sinn Fein paper or a mouthpiece for any political party”, according to publisher and former SF councillor Mairtin O Muilleoir. However, The Irish Independent quotes from the letter, “written on Dail notepaper and personally signed ‘Caoimhghin O Caolain, Sinn Fein Dail Leader'”.. A letter that, the report points out, contains inaccurate information and claims which O Caolain has stated were supplied by Daily Ireland.. hmmm

As the report notes –

Mairtin O Muilleoir, who launched his paper with a Stg£3m (€4.4m) budget last month, has begun a legal action against a Sunday newspaper for linking Daily Ireland to the Provos.

Yesterday Mr O Muilleoir said: “We’re not a Sinn Fein paper or a mouthpiece for any political party.”

In which case the letter makes for interesting reading –

A letter written on Dail notepaper and personally signed “Caoimhghin O Caolain, Sinn Fein Dail Leader” begins: “I write to draw your attention to an attractive investment opportunity, which offers not only a guaranteed return but the special satisfaction of being involved in the launch and development of an Irish Daily newspaper that will be unashamedly on the side of Irish unity and Independence.”

The “guaranteed return” is picked up on later in the report.

But the letter also names Phil Flynn as a Director.. something that Daily Ireland denied after Flynn resigned from various boards following the disclosure of his connection to Chesterton Finance.

The letter also describes former chairman of the Bank of Scotland (Ireland), Phil Flynn, who is a former vice-President of Sinn Fein, as a director of the newspaper. But the publisher of ‘Daily Ireland’ says this was “a mistake”.

Deputy O Caolain’s letter said: “A guaranteed return after seven years is part of the attractive package.” Mairtin O Muilleoir said the guarantee was inaccurate.

A Caoimhghin O Caolain spokesman said the information in the letter was given to him by ‘Daily Ireland’.[emphasis added]

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52 thoughts on “SF's O Caolain "guaranteed return" on investment in paper”

  1. …and in one fell swoop DI loses and possible credability and Michael McDowell is proved right. If we didn’t already know O’Caolain is an idiot, “never put it in writing” and certainly not on Dail headed paper!. Good one Mr Smyth.

  2. Keith

    O Caolain’s ‘defence’, via his spokesman, seems to be that he just did what he was told to do.

    The Phil Flynn slip is rather unfortunate in light of later developments and statements from Daily Ireland.

  3. You have to laugh….

    Not fit to lace FF’s boots when it comes to strokes and scams. I was going to say that I bet Dev never did this/got caught when setting up the Irish Press, but ….

    The daily press was unanimously opposed to Fianna Fáil, so de Valera felt seriously handicapped in his efforts to appeal to the electorate. “There is nothing so important for Ireland as a newspaper that will champion her freedom,” he told a New York press conference in December 1927. During six weeks in the US he managed to raise $80,000 for a new national newspaper. He returned the following December and spent almost six months in the country trying to raise a further $500,000.

    “The harm that is being done to our country through the lack of an independent, constructive and critical national journal is incalculable,” he told a 1929 gathering in New York. “The only effective remedy is to provide an alternative produce an Irish paper which the Irish people will spontaneously support because it stands for Ireland and Irish interests, and is representative of their own thought and ideals.” His message obviously had the necessary resonance, because he returned home with sufficient funds to establish the Irish Press.

    When France, Belgium, Poland and Hungary defaulted on their war debt payments to the US in December 1932, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that Britain would be paying its $95 million on time, even though it meant asking parliament for a supplementary estimate to cover the Irish reneging on land annuities payments. The land annuity dispute was thereby equated with defaulting on war debts in the front page headline of the New York Times next day.

    De Valera responded with his own propaganda stroke by announcing the repayment of the Irish Republican loan raised in the US during the War of Independence. Although that money would not be due until Ireland was recognised as an independent republic, he said it was being repaid immediately with a 25% premium added.

    The ultimate cost to the Government was £500,000 and those people who got the money were invited to support the Irish Press. Enough money was thereby contributed to secure the newspaper’s future, but most of those people probably never got any further financial return. The de Valeras essentially got away with this betrayal of trust because those people probably never expected any monetary return when they gave to the republican loan in the first place. They would have then essentially have turned over the unexpected return from the loan to the Irish Press in the same spirit of donation, rather than investment.

    full article:

  4. All newspapers have a political slant due to the fact they are edited by a human being 😉
    Why Daily Ireland should come in for any more criticism than the Belfast Telegraph, Indie or any of the others is down to plain prejudice. 300,000 plus people voted for SF, many more people within Ireland are Republicans of some type, are you saying they are unworthy of a newspaper which reflect’s their viewpoint. Daily Ireland is developing into a decent enough paper, especially if one considers its resources (no jokes about the Northern please) It seems to me what its critics are saying is it is OK for the rich and powerful to have their own newspaper, but lesser mortals should not be so cheeky, the more so if they come from a working class background.

    Most of us on Slugger love democratic intercourse and thus newspapers, the more papers the better as far as IM concerned. I thought the comments about the arts council withdrawing funding to Fortnight were misguided, because surly in the long run if these small newspapers and magazines do not survive, we will end up with little but the trash owned by the likes of Murdoch and Mr Beans. Who if you scratch below the ink are little more than mouth pieces for the multi nationals and the power elite’s and their tame politicians like Bush and Blair.

    There are many people with power out to destroy Daily Ireland, for they are well aware it has the potential to be an enormous asset to the people of Ireland both north and south. The odds are these people with win out and it will either peter out, become another boring localised Daily, or it will be brought out. However in the meantime all is to play for and those who consider themselves progressives should perhaps reflect of Tito’s words to Stalin during WW2, “if you will not help us for gods sake Dont hinder us.”
    Lutta continua

  5. I’m curious as to which Sunday newspaper DI claim to be suing, and is there any news yet on the McDowell writ?

  6. So whats the beef ? TD’s are entitled to send out letters to anyone about whatever they see fit.

    As for Daily Ireland, whats killing the anti-republican fanatics at the Indo and elsewhere, they are over represented on this site incidentally, is that they consider its their exclusive right granted by Sir Anthony O’Reilly (God Almighty) to turn out biased copy every day…..the possibility that a newspaper, (thats doing much better than expected everywhere and especially in the Indo’s ROI urban market) could have a political bias…well hold on now thats just NOT on….hence “shinner rag” etc etc since the abuse is flowing from a right wing blueshirt partitionist rag I think its safe to say its as predictably unbelievable and politically motivated, as ever.Perhaps if they had been less anti-republican over the past er…100 years themn they may not have created the niche that DI is occupying. Never forget the Irish Independent called for the execution of all the leaders of 1916 and publcily congratulated the British on carrying out the kilings….so no change there then!

  7. Mick

    Of course the DI has every right to exist and to reflect its own and its readers’ political philosophy, but OPENLY.

    The problem is when it denies political links which do exist, deny that people are directors/investors when they are and when they cause to be used Dail services to raise funds, particularly if they are inviting investment with a guaranteed return.

    How does an investment in a newspaper have a guaranteed return? Is this either a false statement to fleece punters or do they have some undisclosed source of cash to underwrite any possible losses? Now there’s a thought, imagine if you had access to oodles of cash in need of careful dispersal over a period of several years………….?

  8. “300,000 plus people voted for SF”

    Hitler got 13,400,000 in a presidential election. Votes alone do not mean political acceptance.

    “It seems to me what its critics are saying is it is OK for the rich and powerful to have their own newspaper, but lesser mortals should not be so cheeky, the more so if they come from a working class background.”

    Mick, as republican commentators go you tend to be one of the more thoughtful. However, this is just keik. The Andersonstown News Group is not some shoestring operation it is a multi-million pound business. Phil Flynn is not a likely candidate for the poor house anytime soon.

  9. Jimmy Sands,

    you have asked the question about the Mc Dowell writ a few times. If i was you I would look up the phone number of DI, ask to speak to the editor or his deputy and tell them the nature of your enquiry. Then let the rest of us know the answer you receive.

  10. How does an investment in a newspaper have a guaranteed return? Is this either a false statement to fleece punters or do they have some undisclosed source of cash to underwrite any possible losses?

    British Government grant aid?

    To be fair, O’Millionaire said this was a mistake.

  11. Pat,

    Actaully this appears to be a different libel action as it is against an unidentified Sunday newspaper. Perhaps it’s the same unidentified Sunday newspaper that the DI claimed the other day was about to get a writ from Sean Clinton. Who knows. Your suggestion of a phone call is intriguing but I suspect that if they wanted that sort of information in the public domain they would arrange it. It is a newspaper after all.


    You’re the second person here to describe the DI’s performance as “better than expected”. Where does this claim come from? The absence of solid facts there will doubtless earn you a stiff talking to from Pat. Can you be a little less vague? Gonzo suggested 6-7k daily sales. Is that right? Did they expect to do even worse?

  12. ‘How does an investment in a newspaper have a guaranteed return? Is this either a false statement to fleece punters or do they have some undisclosed source of cash to underwrite any possible losses?’

    It’s the smart business person who lures potential investors with the promise to lose money, isn’t it?

    Jimmy Sands,

    ‘Your suggestion of a phone call is intriguing but I suspect that if they wanted that sort of information in the public domain they would arrange it. It is a newspaper after all.’

    A simple task such as a phonecall would also deprive you of bringing the subject up again and again and again.

  13. So would an answer to my question. Which of these two possibilities strikes you as the more likely?

  14. Pat,

    I apologise. On reflection I was too hasty in dismissing your suggestion and I have decided to e-mail Mr. O’Muilleoir:

    “Dear Mr. O’Muilleoir,

    Please allow me to introduce myself. I write for a website called Letter to Slugger O’Toole. As the site deals with Irish affairs, naturally the recent launch of Daily Ireland has been a subject for discussion. You will perhaps be pleased to hear that a number of our contributors are staunch admirers of your new venture and one indeed has suggested to me that you might be kind enough to spare a few moments from what no doubt is a hectic schedule to answer briefly a couple of queries that came up in discussion. The first concerns today’s report in the Irish Independent which refers to a libel case being brought against an unidentified Sunday newspaper. Could you tell us which newspaper is being sued, and how far the action has progressed. Similarly, it was reported a little over a month ago that you personally, together with two other individuals, were taking similar action against the Minister for Justice, in respect of similar allegations, and we were wondering how those proceedings were coming along.

    May I thank you in advance for your assistance.

    Mise le meas


    Thank you once agin for the idea Pat. Naturally I will post any reply here as soon as I have it.

  15. “if the e-mail was indeed sent “

    Pat, I am deeply hurt by that suggestion.

    Do you think he will answer?

  16. ‘It’s the smart business person who lures potential investors with the promise to lose money, isn’t it?’

    Under the FSA it is also illegal to induce investors to invest on a ficticious propectus or one which does give a true and fair view of the investment.

    That claim would result in all the directors being personally liable for all investor losses so they would need to have substantial unemcumbered assets to back it up

  17. Well Jimmy Sands and the Devil the circulation of DI is currently at around 14,000 to 15,000 and growing – you will see that confirmed in the bullish editorial in todays edition- it is growing, sorry to disappoint you chaps, and they seem set to achieve their 20,000 target fairly comfortably by June , especially now they have just signed a major sponsorship deal with the GAA-How do I know??simple because I work for a rival and we get the circulation figures for all papers every week….

  18. Thanks Bert (it is Bert today is it?). I’d be intrigued to see the April Fool’s Day editorial you describe as “bullish” (typo?), sadly it isn’t online. I’m not entirely sure how working for another publication gives you access to their circulation figures. Also I’m unclear as to the significance of the GAA sponsorship deal, unless you’re suggesting that it is the GAA giving rather than receiving sponsorship?

    No response yet from DI. Still early days though.

  19. Bert

    If the figures you quote are actively purchased sales, that’s more impressive than I thought.

  20. At Daily Ireland, Ó Muilleoir will not reveal his paper’s sales, other than to comment that local industry talk that it is managing to average only around 9,000 sales per issue – well short of its stated long-term target of 20,000 – are on the low side.


    PS: I see you’ve discovered the IP tracker on Movable Type. Great for sniffing out sock puppets, I find…

  21. Today the deportation of asylum seekers from Ireland is described as a “Penal law-like clampdown”. In a news item. Do you think it’s just the day that’s in it?

  22. … had to write something – the previous comment is number 32 .

    And that particular number and Provisional Sinn Fein do not go together !


  23. “Bert” here “Jimmy”…a good way to check out the bullish editorial is to go out like anyone else and buy a copy.

    GAA sponsorship deal-only Ulster but thats the target market anyway-again see the editorial.

    Clearly Jimmy you are as knowledgeable about the print media as you are on many other matters-all newspapers subscribe to audited circulation statistical data-it is an essential prerequisite of being able to sell advertising copy-else how would advertisers know what the market penetration of their adverts was going to be? Newspaper hacks usually get told how they are “doing” (roughly) every week,and more accurately monthly, it varies seasonally also.
    DI in common with most new launches see-sawed somewhat due to a high initial “suck it and see” factor, but as O’Mueillor states today they are firmly in the 5 figures zone- 12,000 on slack and up to 15,000 on brisk days (eg after GAA sports fixtures over the weekend)-the highest point was their “scoop” interview.

    Now if they are achieving these stats after 50 days most media professionals would concur that once habits are established with a core of “early adopters” to use the marketing jargon, then subsequent advertising and development of their subs system, plus the attractive typeface and layout makes it pretty certain to attain its 20,000 target.

    Despite your disquiet and annoyance its basically a good product and most experienced professionals acknowledge this fact in private.

    Now having dealt with that Jimmy, why on earth would a good democrat like you reserve such vitriol and begrudgery for what is basically simply an expansion in the range of choice in the daily paper market..?

    Political spleen and resentment I suspect, rarely good ingredients for analytical thought.

  24. Bert,

    Thanks for the reply. I understand that the paper is not all online, but until its distribution in the Caribbean improves, the website will have to do me, but thanks for the info.

    I’ll defer to your knowledge of circulation audits. The SBP piece (which I suspect from your post you didn’t read) makes it clear that no such information will be public before the end of this month. I would have assumed hacks will be told informally how they are doing, but you claimed to work for a rival publication (unspecified) so it was not clear to me how you would have access to these figures.

    I’m not sure what you mean by vitriol. I thought my letter to Mr. O’Muilleoir was courteous, and I made a point of highlighting the Langhammer article, which I though was interesting. Clearly my politics are not theirs and it would be idle to suggest otherwise, but I accept an expansion in choice is always to be welcomed.

    I’m still unclear as to the sponsorship deal. These usually involve money flowing to, rather than from the sporting organisation do they not? Or is this one different?

  25. Jimmy I think on balance if I had a choice between buying DI and being in the Carribean…well thats a tough one (not).

    I dont know much about the sponsorship deal with Ulster GAA but I would imagine its DI sponsoring events or having their name emblazoned somwhere on Ulster GAA merchandise/publications…and the flow of funds would be from DI to GAA not vice versa.

    This is quite important for DI because I gather one of their target groups is GAA players and supporters in Ulster-this is demonstrated by the considerable resources being dedicated to providing detailed and often highly localised GAA coverage.

    Have a pina colada for me.

  26. Jim Cusack returns to the theme today. Not enough to to merit another thread, but there don’t appear to be any answers to the main questions. O Caolain says he was told that a return was guaranteed in seven years by DI, DI deny this. Who is telling the truth? As a sidebar I’d be intrigued to see if this part time job as an investment advisor is recorded in the Register of Interests. Bert you’ll see that he gives the circulation figures rumured within the industry. You seem to be hearing something different to everyone else.

  27. I reckon you are being got at by “shinnidents” mate – have you tried papering the walls etc with bacofoil ?
    Once I did that their mind rays were powerless 😉

    Great quote in it about the SDLP though-

    However, he pointed out that while he was in the SDLP in Queen’s University he left the party because “there was more life in a cemetery”

  28. Davros

    “SDLP in Queen’s University he left the party because “there was more life in a cemetery”

    That quote sums up stoop youth in qub pretty well 😉

  29. I thought I had better quote it as I knew there wasn’t much chance that you or Paddy would read the Sindo link 😉

  30. and you’d be right Davros 😉

    I see Sinn Féin have picked up their first Údarás na Gaeltachta seat in the shape of Gráinne Mhic Géidigh

  31. When you get back I’ll expect some details of SF’s action plan for reviving the Gaeltacht areas!
    And where’s my Postcard from Clare ?

  32. Seeing as the Gaeltacht areas are rural I suggest you look at our policy on rural re-generation as well as our policy on Reform of Údarás na Gaeltachta

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