McDowell invokes state immunity

Michael McDowell employed an state immunity defence in a libel action taken by the managing editor of the Andersonstown Newspaper Group Mairtin O’Muilleoir, on the basis that a remark made by the minister put him in danger of assassination. The judge has reserved his judgement. We may have a long wait to see this denoument of this one.

  • hensons

    Mc Dowell says see you in court……. many months later he take the cowards way out.

    pathetic response by the minister.

  • Shore Road Resident

    McDowell has said all along that he will use the state immunity defence. That is his defence in court. He has seen DI in court. There you go.

  • seabhac siulach

    McDowell will try any trick to take the focus off his inept handling of the gangland feuding in Dublin

    (The supine Southern media helps him there)

    I notice that when things get a little bit hot in Dublin out come McDowell with a bit of Shinner bashing to distract the media…works every time.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Once again, you’re talking nonsense.
    The hearing in Belfast will have been scheduled months ago. The timing is a complete coincidence.

  • Mick Fealty

    I see some playing the man sneaking back. Disappointing after the discussion on Slugger has been clean for the last few weeks.

    Make your points cleanly and to the point!

  • Carnhill

    The state immunity ‘defence’ as you call it SRR is not any form of defence of or justification of his comments as such is it ? Seems to me to be more a case of McDowell many months later losing all his bravado and bluster and simply hiding behind his position. Absolutely disgraceful in my opinion, as well as being quite cowardly and sleekit. Shows the man up for what he is.

  • seabhac siulach

    “Once again, you’re talking nonsense.”

    It has been known to happen…

    “The hearing in Belfast will have been scheduled months ago. The timing is a complete coincidence.”

    Yes, I admit that…however, there have been more than 20 gangland killings in Dublin (or surroundings) in the last year and we have heard very very little from McDowell who is never slow to solemnly pronounce each time on Sinn Fein or IRA infractions. The numbers being killed in these gangland shootings are approaching those normal in the 6 counties during the troubles. But, strangely, about these, McDowell is silent…wonder why…

    He is failing in his job (that of Minister of Justice) and the attack on the Daily Ireland was just another of those tedious jibes of his against anything associated with republicans…helps to take the attention off his own (multiple) failings.
    His job is as Minister for Justice, not a mouthpiece for anti-republican rhetoric; although, from his less than glittering record in the job (lack of Garda reforms, etc.) you’d be hard pushed to recognise this…

  • Keith M

    It’s a sad state of affair when a elected representative of the state has to defend fair comment. O’Muilleoir may have more money than sense (as evidenced by the failure of DI to attract anymore than a small minority of nodding donkeys).

    ss : the case was take by O’Muilleoir, so you point is completly sprious.

  • Shore Road Resident

    That may be how it seems to you. Nevertheless, state immunity is the defence McDowell said he would use all along, in court – and now that the case has come up he has used that defence in court. So there you go.

    The real bluster here would seem to be the ATN Group’s usual contention that anyone criticising the paper is setting its staff up for assassination. Notably, on at least two occasions in the recent past that I am aware of, the ATN Group itself has been successfully sued in court for printing comment pieces, and in one instance a forged letter, claiming that west Belfast residents who were critical of the Andersonstown News were actually state informers. But that wasn’t setting them up for assassination, now was it?

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    It’s be refreshing if commenters refrained from launching their usual attacks against Daily Ireland and instead focused on whether or not Minister McDowell was right to use the defence he did or whether he used it because otherwise he hadn’t a leg to stand on, legally.

  • Shore Road Resident

    PS: Amusingly, both of the people the ATN claimed were state agents are journalists on other newspapers.

    O’Muilleoir should (and probably does) count himself lucky that this case will likely end here. If the point I’ve just made had been raised by McDowell’s defence team it would have rendered O’Muilleoir an instant international laughing stock.

  • Baldrick

    “The Minister said some people in the media pandered to a Republican agenda”.

    Is DI not an avowedly pro-republican newspaper? (I seem to recall their advert about “A newspaper good enough to Rise for)

    I agree that state immunity is a pathetic defence but isn’t a key element of a libel case that the defamatory comments should be untrue?

    I would appreciate a link to an exact quotation of the Minister’s remarks but it also seems incongruous that Martin can leap from thefairly banal comment quoted above to state that these are “Nazi Slurs” and “Nazi allegations”.

    Myself, I find those comments clearly insulting, both to the Minister and to my intelligence and (from my own limited knowledge) potentially libellous too…..

    The rush to use the “N” word has been well covered in Slugger in recent months and we don’t need to go back there, but the rush to claim victimhood; ANG = poor oppressed Jews, anyone who doesn’t like ANG = oppressive, murdering Hun? is clearly unwarranted.

    At the end of the day the paper will stand or fall based on it’s circulation not as a result of Irish or British government “oppression”.

    Maybe Martin should stick to writing sensationalist taboid headlines, a job he is obviously better suited to.

  • BogExile

    ‘A newspaper good enough to Rise for’

    What? DIreland?? Are they now giving away free viagra with every chip wrapping?

  • Mickhall

    Does Mr McDowell have a legal defense here, he is after all before a foreign court. Is there some sort of international agreement that allows ministers to use this defense beyond their own jurisdiction.

    By the way Henry, is this an example of ‘republicans’ recogning the British legal system in Ireland.

    Regards to all

  • Shore Road Resident

    Actually I think it was McDowell who raised the Nazi analogy first by likening DI to the Nazi party’s own newspaper.
    However it is strange that the paper which so stoutly defended Alex Reid’s right to make stupid historical analogies should get its knickers in a twist over McDowell doing the same thing.

    McDowell did have a point about the ‘party paper’ jibe though – he was responding to the revelation that Shinners in the Dail had been begging for investment in Daily Ireland. (Conclusive proof that it’s just An Phoblacht Daily). But if I was McDowell I’d be more interested in the role of his coalition partner and Daily Ireland investor Sentator Mary White.

  • Carnhill

    new enough to this blog, but already getting the impression that the DI comes in for a fair bit of abuse on here. Regardless of the papers politics, does anyone know the circulation figures for the DI, as compared to the IN & Newsletter for instance. Obviously the figures will be much lower as the paper is still relatively new, however just curious as to how far behind it’s competitors the DI is at present, and whether it is biting significantly into the IN’s numbers.

  • martin

    I’m really bored hearing about Mc Dowell

    Even members of his own party like Liz O’Donnel-Carson,Tom Parlon and even Mary Harney think he is off the wall.

    For the life of me I can’t understand why other Nationalists pay any attention to what he says or does anymore.

    He does not merit it
    -Willie O’Dea goes on about SF just as much-but at least he is not worked up into a frenzy like Mc D and sometimes W O’D actually has some valid points-also unlike Mc Dowell.

  • Shore Road Resident

    It is interesting that SF and their media goons have built McDowell up into a figure of island-wide significance. The only thing I can think of that explains such an uncharacteristic mistake is that he really gets under Sinn Fein’s skin – which, of course, only makes people more inclined to listen to him carefully.

    As for the DI figures, 8,500 and falling (from 10,500 at launch). IN down 1,000 to 49,000. Newsletter around 30K last time I looked. DI is a disaster. It’s like McDowell, in fact – something we spend way too much time talking about in relation to its actual importance!

  • Kelvin Doherty

    Doesn’t that 8,500 figure include a large percentage of free copies??

    I rememeber a mate in the industry telling me that southern money will be pulled unless it starts making a profit within a year.

  • Carnhill

    Very surprised at just how low those circulation figures are for the DI – seems they have quite a battle on their hands in order to survive and compete with the IN. I would have thought that they would’ve eaten into the IN’s circulation figures more significantly due to the pro-Sinn Fein bias and the size of the Sinn Fein support in the North – will be interesting to see how it develops in the next 12-18 months. One things for sure – I don’t think it will be able to survive and be taken seriously as a national daily with a readership of only 8,500.

  • Shore Road Resident

    The figures are on the ABC website somwhere, you can look them up – they include stats on the free copies as well.
    The real question is how on earth they audit the claimed 7,000 circulation south of the border. ABC doesn’t have a proper auditing system in the south yet (although it is setting one up I believe.)

  • seabhac siulach

    “Yes, I admit that…however, there have been more than 20 gangland killings in Dublin (or surroundings) in the last year and we have heard very very little from McDowell who is never slow to solemnly pronounce each time on Sinn Fein or IRA infractions.”

    What are you talking about? He has come out and condemned the gangland killings quite a bit on national television. Hell, he even condemned it on Ryan Tubridy’s show.

    Hopefully Mr McDowell will see you in court over your remarks.

  • Shore Road Resident

    PS Kelvin: The investment offer SF’s Dail team were putting about ‘guaranteed’ a return after seven years. Not very tempting, to be honest. Even a new UK national daily would aim to be in profit within 10 years – and only a fool would guarantee it.

  • martin

    yeah what do you think of his sting of the dying wasp statement

    or after the 2 were shot dead in their car he said that both rival drug gangs were under complete 24/7 Gardai surveilance–and yet less than 24 hours later another gang member managed to wind up dead–they must have taken a break for Fair City.

    Mc Dowell is a Lemon–

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    The 8,500 number is also a lie. It’s over 10,000 copies sold per day according to the ABC. In the time the Daily Ireland has been coming out, the Irish News circulation has been falling – down 3% according to themselves.

  • seabhac siulach


    “Hopefully Mr McDowell will see you in court over your remarks.”

    He’ll have to catch me first…
    (although I do not think that fair comment is libelous…)

    Wow, so McDowell condemned the killings, did he? Perhaps, if he spent less time yapping away into the nearest microphone and more time whipping the Gardai into shape (his job) then he wouldn’t need to condemn any more killings, as the Gardai might actually be stopping some…

    McDowell’s remarks were meant to cripple DI before it got off the ground…in that sense he might have achieved his purpose. Very much a (Progressive) Democrat, all told…

  • Shore Road Resident,

    Along with Pete Baker you hold the title of most obsessive fixation/phobia/paranoia with ATN and Daily Ireland. You clearly dont realise the extent to which this manifests itself in your comments. These newspapers present a Republican perspective on news items in this country. In the same way that The News Letter and Belfast Telegraph prsent a Unionist perspective. A free press is an intrinsic part of a democrarcy. And it is the very existence of these papers that irks you, not the peripheral issues that you continuously use against them. They are, have been, and will be in the future papers with a republican perspective. That is their right so please learn to live with it…

  • Martin,

    YOu do know about the “play the ball not the man rule”? I wouldn’t want to act pre-emptively, but there’s a man-playing thing creeping back in here again.

    It’s usually the result of high passions, but if we are to keep this a half sane place to discuss difficult issues, everyone needs to pull their wait in this regard.

  • Keith M

    martin “Even members of his own party like Liz O’Donnel-Carson,Tom Parlon and even Mary Harney think he is off the wall.”.

    And how do you know this?

    As it happens most of the people that I know within the PDs think that McDowell is their best asset and should he choose to stay in politics is mpost likely the next party leader.

    By the way Liz O’Donell continues to use the original version of her name (which is probably more than can be said for “Mairtin O’Muilleoir”).

  • DK


    If you look at ABC you will see that it is 8,500 sold, but the figure is more than 10K due to freebies.

  • martin

    Ok Mick ,
    but in this mans case the thin line between Ball and man is fairly slim–anyway passions don’t run high with me over this-its simply I don’t see why we have to see and hear about him every time we turn around–when he actually achieves something in the job he is paid to do–then I might have more respect for him–but I can’t see that happening–any way I withdraw from the thread on that note.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Not so OC – actively purchased sales of DI (mon-sat) for the 2nd Qtr of this year – 8,771.

    Source: official ABC audit

  • Pete Baker

    Along with Pete Baker you hold the title of most obsessive fixation/phobia/paranoia with ATN and Daily Ireland.

    Just because you keep repeating that line doesn’t make it true.


  • Shore Road Resident

    PS: Macswiney – I’ve no problem with a free press and free speech, in fact it is the prerequisite of any functioning democracy.
    The problem is that DI is not a real newspaper. It is a party newspaper, funded by Ireland’s richest political party, and with a propensity for libel litigation, set up primarily to put the independent family-owned Irish News out of business – and in the expectation of receiving a British government grant to do so.
    All these factors actually mitigate against the free press and free speech. This was also the basis of McDowell’s objection to SF party members hawking its investment prospective around the parliament of the state the don’t recognise.
    I find the whole affair absolutely fascinating – and the fact that the Shinners have fallen on the arse over it just makes it all the more entertaining. But excuse me if my interest bores you.

  • Joe

    IRA sympathisers critical of McDowell over Dublin gangland killings? If some crime cors are to be believed many of the paid hitmen are northern Provos now into the assassination business for personal gain which doesn’t speak volumes for the morals of the average provie assassin. In any case it was the IRA above all who brought serious ordinary crime to the ROI in the 1970s and 1980s with armed robberies, kidnapping etc. There was very little armed crime in the preceding decades and that was where all of this began. A goodly share of the blame attaches to them.

  • Brian Boru

    “As it happens most of the people that I know within the PDs think that McDowell is their best asset and should he choose to stay in politics is mpost likely the next party leader.”

    Keith M, I agree he should be the next leader, but the way the party elects the position could prevent it, considering the electoral-college system gives TD’s – some allegedly in disagreement with him over immigration – a lot of weight. – will probably prevent this?

  • seabhac siulach

    “If some crime cors are to be believed many of the paid hitmen are northern Provos now into the assassination business for personal gain which doesn’t speak volumes for the morals of the average provie assassin.”

    The morals of the average provie assassin? What a laugh (Why are people obsessed with morality on this site?)

    Where did you read about all that, by the way? The Sunday World, the Sunday Independent…some gem of journalistic integrity like those? Well, if so, it must be true then…after all, they got it so right with the death of Lawlor in Moscow.
    Dublin criminals high on coke are killing each other. They do not need outside help.
    All other talk is Sunday Independent fantasy, written to sell newspapers to naive middle-class people who are scared of the (working class) Sinn Fein bogey man…

  • George

    seabhac siulach,
    The Gardai actually can’t stand McDowell for the very reason that he is trying to whip them into shape.

    As a matter of interest, from FF/PD, who would you like to see in the post?

    The Sunday World would actually be the best newspaper in highlighting gang criminality on this island. Paul Williams needs 24 hour Garda protection for him and his family, for example, and it has already lost one journalist to the thugs.
    Maybe you should actually read what it writes on gang crime sometime.

  • seabhac siulach

    “As a matter of interest, from FF/PD, who would you like to see in the post?”

    The choice is very limited, I will admit…most of the FF or PD I wouldn’t leave in charge of a shop, let alone a ministry…
    Due to the demands of the coalition McDowell is a shoe-in to some ministry or other irrespective of his qualifications. That is the problem.

    His attempts at reforming the licencing laws were supported by me. However, I feel that he spends too much time focusing on Sinn Fein for purely party political (leadership ambition) reasons often to the detriment to the resolution of the national question. He has a national responsibility in this regard not to go shooting his mouth off.
    He has also been unusually quiet as regards the gangland shootings that are out of control at the moment, witness Limerick last night with two shootings, for example.
    As to who could replace him, well, there would be an option of swapping him to Foreign Affairs, where he could use his mouth to good effect, and moving Dermot Ahern to Justice. There is also the option of Michael Martin, etc. Fiann Fail does have a handful (3-4) of capable ministers, e.g., Hanafin, Martin, Ahern, Cowen (maybe).

    I do not doubt that the Sunday World is good at highlighting criminality. However, fantasy stories on provo hitmen do not help anyone’s cause. These criminals are well armed and do not need the help of any paramilitaries. These are just the latest and tired attempts to criminalise the political motivations that underlie the provos and others.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Yes, but what does any of this have to do with Daily Ireland suing Michael McDowell?

  • George

    seabhac siulach,
    I would believe a story from the Sunday World ahead of the Sunday Independent.

    But when it comes to gang crime, I actually wouldn’t doubt their integrity if they said they have evidence that there are Republicans involved.

    Nobody doubted their bona fides when they said loyalists were involved in crime. Why should we doubt them now?

    You mention Limerick. Three of those involved in the Adare bank robbery which ended up with the cold-blooded murder of a Garda were Limerick gangsters working with a know republican.

    The IRA denied this until it could deny it no more. In fact, I believe Sinn Fein believe these guys should get out of prison early.

    When is a gangster not a gangster? When he’s called a republican?

    The Provos have form when it comes to working with gangsters and if you are telling me you believe that members of the provisional movement have had nothing to do with Dublin criminals in recent years, you would believe anything.

    The question isn’t whether provos work with criminals in the Republic, or are involved in criminality, the question is whether the Sunday World is right in every instance.

    Why should I not believe them and instead believe the Republican movement on this?