Media legal action concludes with apology…

As if to emphasise the importance of playing the ball and not the man, PA reports the that an out-of-court settlement after a personal attack by Andersonstown News columnist Squinter on Sharon O’Neill, one of the top journalists at the Irish News, which has led to the former to make a public apology, three years after the fact.

  • peteb

    And, on a similar note, the Irish News editor deals promptly with an accusation, from SF’s “Director of European Affairs” Eoin O Broin, of a story on SF MEP Bairbre de Brun being “inaccurate, misleading and smack[ing] of political bias”, oh, and of “flimsy reporting” – in the letters pages today.

    Timing, eh??

  • Gonzo

    Has anyone else noticed that every time Squinter puts his pen to paper to slag someone off, it’s always Robin Livingstone who ends up looking completely stupid?

    I noticed that the Andytown News group are looking for a new accountant.

  • mick hall

    Any thought out there on whether journalist’s should sue other journalist’s. It seems a very slippery slope to me, especially as the journalist who feels sinned against, if they have their editors support have the means to answer back.

    regards to all

  • peteb


    Should a journalist (and, in this case, one hiding behind a pseudonym – so I use the word advisedly) be allowed to libel a journalist without the risk of facing legal action?

  • mick hall


    No I think we all should have the right to defend our reputations if libeled, but you know in reality this is far from the case, as most of us simply do not have the cash to defend ourself if we find ourself libeled. However there is a tradition that journalists do not resort to the courts if a fellow scribe has a go at them, but get their own back via their column, etc. Myself I prefer this option.

    I suppose this is an example of the RM coming into and accepting out of necessity the legit world, in this case they recognized the courts. Could you imagine anyone suing AP/RN 20 years ago for something similar, how times change?(before anyone corrects me the ATN is of course totally independent;)

  • peteb


    “However there is a tradition that journalists do not resort to the courts if a fellow scribe has a go at them, but get their own back via their column, etc. Myself I prefer this option.”

    Except in this case we have an anonymous columnist libelling a journalist who only produces factual reports, as opposed to opinion pieces.

    In this example I welcome it.. perhaps, in part, for the reasons you suggest.. how times change indeed. 🙂

  • Davros

    The Irish Times ( and Brownie) used the claim that a regular column was written by several contributors.

  • crat

    Even a stuck clock….

    Squinter hits the spot.

    ‘Lisa who?

    So the UVF is engaged in an inquiry into the disappearance – or murder, in all likelihood – of Lisa Dorrian.

    This is good news, even if this kind of inquiry means not wigs and laptops, but Stanley knives and cigarette butts.

    Squinter can’t help wondering who’s going to conduct an inquiry into the most mysterious disappearance of them all, which was outlined in this very interesting story which Squinter read the other day…

    Police are treating as suspicious the disappearance of Ireland’s leading journalist in the wake of the Lisa Dorrian case.
    Veteran hack Phil White has not been seen since the 25-year-old disappeared after a party in a caravan in Ballyhalbert, Co Down.

    Award-winning journalist Phil White shot to prominence with his shocking exposé of corruption at the heart of the Irish political system: ‘Never Mind That, What About the Provos?’ and his undercover investigation into child slavery in Ireland: ‘Murdering SF *******s Have a Cheek to Talk’.

    “Phil was heartbroken when he first found out that the IRA weren’t involved in the Dorrian thing,” a pal said yesterday. “He went into a deep depression and that was the last we saw of him.

    “He was planning a new conservatory for the house and he thought he’d get a 500-word news story and a 1500-word opinion piece every day for the next few months.

    “It’s a terrible tragedy and, of course, we’re blaming the Provies. If they had killed Lisa Dorrian this would never have happened.”

    A police spokesman appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

    “We want to speak to anyone who knew Phil White. We know that he was close to senior PSNI officers, British intelligence spooks, dissident republican egomaniacs, Sticks, former Sticks and touts with internet obsessions.”

    Squinter rang a hack pal of his the other day and asked him a few questions about how the fourth estate had covered itself in glory over the Lisa Dorrian case.

    – Hi, just a few questions about Lisa Dorrian.
    – Lisa who?
    – Girl disappeared in Ballyhalbert a few months back.
    – Oh, yes, of course. Brunette, forty, messy domestic scenario.
    – Blonde, twenty-five, messy loyalist scenario.
    – Really?
    – Written any good stories about the case?
    – Of course.
    – Such as?
    – Ah, can I get back to you?
    – Written any good stories about the McCartney case?
    – Of course, I can let you have them if you send up an articulated lorry. ‘

  • Fanny

    The implication that the media is ignoring the Lisa Dorrian story is simply untrue.
    This is a whataboutery too far. Shameful.
    And to think his point here is supposedly about other people using murder to score political points.

  • marty

    Agreed Fanny. And on top of that it’s in pretty poor taste as well.