Journalists against disclosure…

Myers sees things a little differently (sub needed):

Citing Garda intelligence, Michael McDowell has connected him to a plot by the IRA to provide Colombian guerrillas with information on the use of explosives in return for cash. This is the same Sinn Féin-IRA which in the 1980s ordered its agents to begin the long-term subversion of Irish institutions, and the secret implementation of the Sinn Féin-IRA agenda. In this task, they have also had the unwitting assistance of those useful lefty-idiots that totalitarian revolutionary movements have always manipulated in order to destroy their host-democracies.

He condemns what for him is the extraordinary sight of journalists actively not seeking disclosure – the stock in trade for the press of a free society.

For journalists either seek the truth or we do not; if we do not seek the truth at all times in all circumstances, if we seek to conceal it beneath the folderol of “due process” then we are betraying a cardinal rule of our trade, and we do so either because we are political comrades of Frank Connolly, or because we are voguish imbeciles. No other explanation is possible. So when you read of journalists condemning the Minister you must make your mind up: dupe or mole.

He questions the use of the ‘magic forensic device’ of due process:

Let us now dispose of the fiction of “due process”. Frank Connolly did not use such “due process” to make revelations about Ray Burke, which ultimately led to the setting up of the planning tribunal. As my splendid and indefatigable colleague Paul Cullen, neither dupe nor mole, pointed out recently, Frank Connolly’s reports on Garda corruption in Co Donegal contributed to the establishment of the Morris tribunal. However, as Paul also reported, he got it spectacularly wrong when he published the false allegations of Denis “Starry” O’Brien, against whom the Taoiseach won a libel action in Dublin Circuit Civil Court in 2001. All of these allegations were based on information – some of it clearly false – which Connolly published without recourse to this mare’s nest called “due process”.

  • Betty Boo

    “…those useful lefty-idiots that totalitarian revolutionary movements have always manipulated in order to destroy their host-democracies.”
    He must be in considered pain about it. But hopes are dwindling fast with further reading, that his torment will elapse “in due process”.

  • seabhac siulach

    More from the master of sophistry, i.e., a method of argumentation that seems clever but is actually flawed or dishonest

    …sums up Mr Myers perfectly…

    Myers mentions the revelations about Ray Burke and Garda corruption published by Connolly…
    That was exactly his job as a journalist (perhaps Myers could learn a thing or two).
    However, in neither of these cases did a serving minister stand up in the Dail and finger the alleged culprit as has happened here. It is no good attempting to spread a smokescreen about those evil Shinners again and their ‘useful lefty idiots’. A crude attempt, by the way, to insult any who might question our good minister (always acting in the public interest and never his own).
    Connolly did his job in revealing those allegations about Burke, etc. It is not the job of a minister to blacken anyone’s name. And in blackening that person’s name, hide behind Dail privilege and release tainted ‘intelligence’ to a single source in a newspaper allied to you. McDowell did not reveal his information outside of the Dail (like a journalist would) and so he is safe from libel. To compare a journalist with McDowell is a flawed argument. A journalist, when publishing, is open to libel. McDowell is not, hiding as he is behind Dail privilege…

  • TAFKABO

    Why does Dail privellage exist, if not to enable people like McDowell to do exactly as he has done?

  • Whether you agree with Myers or not, there does seem to be a question here about whether Irish journalists do what we think they are supposed to do – ie speaking truth to power.

    Although there is also a dearth of investigative journalism in Britain and the US, is the restrictive Irish libel law creating an overly defensive and fearful journalism?

  • seabhac siulach

    “Why does Dail privellage exist, if not to enable people like McDowell to do exactly as he has done?”

    Surely, Dail privilege was not enshrined in the constitution to enable ministers to make accusations against private individuals. This is merely acting within the letter, not the spirit of the constitution…
    The truth is, what McDowell has done is unprecedented…it may mean that the whole right to Dail privilege needs to be changed.

    For example, it should be against the rules to make defamatory statements or allegations against any person if such allegations are made against persons who are not in a position to defend themselves in the Dail…otherwise, what is to stop any minister, any T.D., repeating any malicious tittle tattle they hear out on the streets?

    What are the precise rules for Dail Eireann regarding privilege, anyone? Are they specific as to when it should be used?

  • seannaboy

    As I have said elsewhere, why doesn’t Kevin Myers et al start a campaign then for an independent publicly funded CPI? THis body could then get on with the investigation into the purchase of land in North Dublin for a new prison.

  • Ringo

    As I have said elsewhere, why doesn’t Kevin Myers et al start a campaign then for an independent publicly funded CPI? THis body could then get on with the investigation into the purchase of land in North Dublin for a new prison.

    Did you know that the land purchased belongs to a brother-in-law of a well known national politician – who claimed initially to have had nothing to do with the deal, but subsequently admitted that he was ‘aware’ of the deal as it was being negotiated?

    Sounds sinister, doesn’t it?

  • TAFKABO

    Surely, Dail privilege was not enshrined in the constitution to enable ministers to make accusations against private individuals.

    I rather think it was.

    This is merely acting within the letter, not the spirit of the constitution…

    I know people are floundering when they resort to arguments bewteen the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.
    Besides, isn’t it the case that the “spirit” of the law is being adhered to if naming an individual helps expose an institution (or illegal organisation) at work?

    The truth is, what McDowell has done is unprecedented…it may mean that the whole right to Dail privilege needs to be changed.

    Heh, the irony is writ large in that last paragraph, since at the root of all these allegations is an accusation that certain bodies have a hidden agenda to change the very nature of the state itself.

    Let’s see whether the Irish people as a whole think that anything needs changed, much as it must hurt you you know this, it’s not in your gift to make such decisions.

    Now I shall finish by asking the question I asked before, and perhaps someone will give me a clearer explantion than vague waffle of the spirit of the constitution.

    What is Dail privellage there for?

  • seabhac siulach

    I withdraw what I said previously (waffle!) about Dail privilege…
    It is there precisely for what McDowell used it for. However, one may question the manner in which it is used…

    From the information I have found, the privilege of freedom of speech in parliament is defined as a ‘privilege of necessity’ and is only for use when members have information that they think could not be brought forward without fear of legal proceedings. It should, therefore, be used responsibly…

    McDowell has not conformed to this in the recent past. For example, by tainting the Daily Ireland as the new Volkischer Beobachter (the nazi newspaper)…was this necessary or in the extreme interest of the state? No. For what reason was it done? To commercially damage a potential rival to the Independent Newspaper group? This was an abuse of the privilege…
    He then hid behind this privilege when sued for libel.

    So, his ‘form’ on this is poor to say the least. Why are we to believe that his use of privilege this time is any less frivolous?

    What was there legally to stop McDowell releasing information on Connolly openly inside or outside of the Dail? What legal constraints were there? If the information is true, as he says it is, then he has nothing to hide. So it was not necessary to use privilege in this case.

  • Pete Baker

    “He then hid behind this privilege when sued for libel.”

    Not quite, ss. The libel action taken by the Daily Ireland named McDowell as an Irish Government Minister. In doing so, along with other factors, the Daily Ireland themselves enabled McDowell to avail of the defence of State immunity as, in effect, they attempted to sue him in his capacity as a representative of a government.

    Dáil privilege didn’t apply, the comments were not made in the Dáil – if I remember correctly – nor was it used in that instance.

    Arguably that was a tactic designed to cause the libel action to fail at the first hurdle.. either that or incompetence on the part of the DI’s legal team..

  • Betty Boo

    “The libel action taken by the Daily Ireland named McDowell as an Irish Government Minister. “
    Pete,
    Is it not common or even required to give the profession of the person sued in such cases?

  • Pete Baker

    Betty B

    It wasn’t that they gave his profession.. they attempted to sue him as the Minister for Justice..

    “In doing so, along with other factors, the Daily Ireland themselves enabled McDowell to avail of the defence of State immunity..”

    ANYway.. Dáil privilege wasn’t an issue.

  • Addie Rose

    Of course we know the answer to Myer’s question with regard to himself: DUPE

  • Betty Boo

    Thanks, Pete.
    But is has been used this time, as a “privilege of necessity” as Seabhac explained above. And I still have to stick with the question. Why now and not 18 months earlier? What was now so necessary to reveal this information, what was irrelevant at the time of the foundation of CPI? The alleged deed was already done.

  • Lorenzo

    [speculation] Possibly because the DPP had not at that stage decided whether to proceed with a prosecution or not?

  • Betty Boo

    Lorenzo,
    And I thought, if a crime is committed and you have been caught, then there is nothing to decide whether you will be prosecuted or not.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Citing Garda intelligence, Michael McDowell has connected him to a plot by the IRA to provide Colombian guerrillas with information on the use of explosives in return for cash’

    The problem is we are being asked Mc Dowell to accept him at his word. He is asking us to believe that the Gardai (exposed at some length by Connolly over Mc Brearty) are incapable of getting things wrong.

    ‘For journalists either seek the truth or we do not; if we do not’

    Adopting a partisan position and nodding your head in the direction of someone who aligns themselves with your own prejudices is nothing to do with seeking the truth.

    ‘So when you read of journalists condemning the Minister you must make your mind up: dupe or mole.’

    So despite the plethora of Tribunals where politicans were exposed as liars and criminals failure to question the motives of self same politicans leads one to be labelled mole or dupe.

    ‘which Connolly published without recourse to this mare’s nest called “due process”.’

    Connolly did not hide behind parliamentary privilege, unlike Mc Dowell.

    The piece by Myers sees Connolly as an enemy, dramatic prose from a mere hack. Perhaps all those tiresome dirges on WW1 have softened the grey matter of poor Kevin and he has the D’olier St version of shell shock.

    The tail end of the piece where he tails off into guns and sniper rifles garbage would indicate that should he ever tire of the IT a new job will be open to him at the tits and bums Sunday World.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    To indulge in a spot of whataboutery for a moment, I do find this change of heart by mainstream republicanism heartening in some ways.

    I’m sure we can all remember the days when Sinn Fein and the IRA engaged in smear campaigns against innocent (and not-so-innocent) people. Certainly the courts were never encouraged by the ‘RA to determine anyone’s guilt or innocence.

    Whether Connolly is innocent or guilty, he doesn’t get one in the back of the head.

    It’s also encouraging to find out that, deep down, Provisionals have a such respect for the Irish courts these days.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Pat’s ad hominem abuse of the writer doesn’t constitute an argument. For a party so fond of the word ‘demonisation’, Sinn Fein don’t seem to have too many qualms about employing the tactic themselves.

  • seabhac siulach

    Belfast Gonzo:

    “It’s also encouraging to find out that, deep down, Provisionals have a such respect for the Irish courts these days.”

    Hardly a new phenomenon…in 1986 it was agreed at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis to recognise the legitimacy of the 26 county state by agreeing to take any seats, if won, in the Dail…
    Part of this ‘taking of seats’ involved accepting the rule of law in the 26 counties…the 6 counties being another matter.
    There is no paradox here. There are no longer any reports of provos not recognising the 26 county courts. This has been the case for decades.
    The ideological/revolutionary purity of such ‘recognition’ is another matter entirely.