Ouch..

The Broom is back!.. after a brief absence [The StrayTaoist again? – Ed].. and on form too.. linking to this Down Democrat response to Sinn Féin’s criticism of their coverage of the Denis Donaldson affair – as noted here and here. In it the Down Democrat makes an important point about such criticism from a political party – “The role of the Press however is to chronicle events and to question authority and to place in the public domain issues that require public scrutiny.” The Broom has the full article hereSome extracts –

Sinn Fein has also criticised the validity of the articles published by the Democrat and even goes as far to question the motives behind their publication.

What Sinn Fein does not say is that the party’s Press Office was made fully aware well in advance of publication in the January 3 edition of this newspaper of the complete contents of the Donaldson articles.

The Down Democrat also states –

A party spokesman has since questioned the Down Democrat revelations about serious discontent within Sinn Fein as relayed by a significant number of individual members.

Sinn Fein claimed that they had “investigated the source of some of the claims contained in the articles.”

As a result a party spokesman said the party was “confident that the people responsible for contacting the Down Democrat were “not party members.’

However as the Down Democrat sources are only know to this newspaper it is difficult to comprehend how Sinn Fein could investigate “some of the claims.”

One must also ask why, if they were in a position to investigate the allegations about very important matters pertaining to the very credibility of Sinn Fein, it didn’t investigate all the claims.

And later in the article –

It is not the choice of the media. Equally it is not the responsibility of the Down Democrat that members of a political party feel it necessary to articulate their collective frustration through this newspaper.

It is an indictment however of a party that prides itself on its democratic structures that long serving supporters of Sinn Fein feel so disillusioned with the calibre of elements of their leadership in South Down that they have chosen the path of print to protest their resentment at the way they have been treated.

The Down Democrat is not in a position to judge whether those individuals are justified in their discontent and their reservations over the wider ramifications of the Donaldson intelligence agenda.

The role of the Press however is to chronicle events and to question authority and to place in the public domain issues that require public scrutiny.

Read the full article here.. or here

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  • martin ingram

    The SF Blogging committee will be in deep discussions to cover this one, comon lads wake up.

    The bubbles are bursting all over the place, Sinn Fein does seem to have a problem taking criticism from anybody let alone from Party members.

    Still we are told by assimilated that this is a normal political party.

    Good Night God Bless Martin

  • slug

    Pete

    The article says:

    “It is interesting that Sinn Fein makes no rebuttal of the allegation that the family of Martin McAuley, in particular his mother, have been less that enthusiastic about the role played by Caitroina Ruane MLA in their recent difficulties.”

    I don’t quite get this bit – what are their recent difficulties and what role did Catriona Ruane play?

  • Pete Baker

    Can’t say I’m aware of that particular reference, slug.. it may be in some of the coverage noted in the earlier posts.. or maybe not.

  • harpo

    ‘In it the Down Democrat makes an important point about such criticism from a political party – “The role of the Press however is to chronicle events and to question authority and to place in the public domain issues that require public scrutiny.” ‘

    Not in Provoworld it isn’t.

  • missfitz

    slug
    I have no idea, but just to guess… is this about the bring them home campaign? If it is, I am shocked, to be honest

  • The part that interested me was the section on unattributable sources, which was a very hot topic in the Sunday Tribune thread a week or two back:

    One must also ask why, if they [Sinn Fein] were in a position to investigate the allegations about very important matters pertaining to the very credibility of Sinn Fein, it didn’t investigate all the claims.

    So what claims did they turn a blind eye to and why did they decide on this course of action?

    What sources they they use for investigation purposes?

    Why have they not named them?

    And why have none of the individuals named openly in the Down Democrat articles not refuted any of the allegations surrounding them?

    Perhaps the difficulty for Sinn Fein is that they realise that they have been infiltrated by collaborators and agents, as has been alleged, to such an extent that they privately know that it is impossible to provide any evidence to the contrary?

    The attempts by Sinn Fein to rubbish the articles as having “little or no credibility” because of the choice made by the complainants to retain their anonymity is also confidently claimed as another indication of the individuals concerned not “being party members.”

    The argument defies logic.

    Simply because individuals decline to be named publicly does not detract from the strength of their case.

    If it did many statements issued over many years and attributed to people like Mr. P. O’Neill, would never have been published.

    It rather cheekly notes too that Sinn Fein’s rebuttal was from an unattributable source.

    I’m interested because this issue caused no small amount of heat, and perhaps some light on Slugger at the time.

    My feeling was and is that unattributable sources are part and parcel of the political process. Also that internal dissent is natural at times of crisis, and even healthy for the party concerned.

    Crisis, personal and perhaps also political can often presage necessary change.

  • Pete Baker

    “that internal dissent is natural at times of crisis, and even healthy for the party concerned.”

    Healthy.. unless it is immediately stifled, Mick.. which is, at least partially, the point of the Down Democrat article.

  • west belfast resident

    Heres the bit I like best

    ”However, it must be equally clear that the problems SF have at their central core are the result of inherent flaws in the psyche of those individuals elevated to high office within that party and who subsequently decided to take the Queens shilling in the shape of M(5 backhanders.

    WOW!! Brilliant.

    Also good point Harpo.

  • heman

    In the light of this post, I’m looking forward to a similar one regarding the latest SDLP councillor to walk from the party in acrimonious circumstances.

    I am of course referring to Oran Keenan, who made the front page of this week’s Antrim Guardian after becoming the second of only three councillors in Antrim the party had elected only a matter of months ago to walk.

    I think it’s important we discuss internal difficulties experienced by all parties on this site- seeing as we missed a thread on the last SDLP councillor to walk from the party (a Mr. Corr from Craigavon, who jumped off the sinking ship two weeks ago.)

    On the Down Democrat story, let us be clear. Republicans are right to be wary of the claims being made by the paper about their sources. I am not revealing any secrets by stating the paper to be an avowedly pro-SDLP publication, and therefore prone to stick the boot into Sinn Fein when the occasion arises.

    Sinn Fein are right to point up the difference in a source being a current member of the party, or a former member, given the likely baggage the latter would bring to such an issue.

    The problem with unattributable sources, Mick, is that when in the hands of journalists (or indeed anyone else) they can be used to give credence to an assertion that may otherwise be believed as bogus.

    Take the recent media suggestions that Sean Kelly had returned to the Shankill with the Ardoyne football club, carried in a local paper recently. The story had even suggested that a local UDA leader was in trouble with his cohorts for not instigating violence.

    All of which, as has transpired from Mr. Kelly, the football team involved and countless others present, to be utterly bogus.

    The Down Democrat may decide to get all high and mighty on this one, but in doing so it is only confirming to republicans that it is working to an anti-republican agenda.

  • The problem with unattributable sources is far outweighed by the danger of pushing an entirely false line. The example you give is a good one. That story was blown apart almost as soon as it appeared. Why? Because it was blatently false.

    Falsehoods are eminently falsifiable, whether the source is known or unknown. And whatever the bias of the quarter from which it emerges.

    Night all!

  • martin ingram

    The problem with unattributable sources is far outweighed by the danger of pushing an entirely false line. The example you give is a good one. That story was blown apart almost as soon as it appeared. Why? Because it was blatently false.

    A good point.

    Martin

  • Nowt to do with me, guv. *cough* No, really, this time it wasn’t.

  • Belfastwhite

    “The role of the Press however is to chronicle events and to question authority and to place in the public domain issues that require public scrutiny.”

    We’ve had the brutal attacks on civil rights, the Falls Curfew, Internment without trial, Bloody Sunday, CS Gas, rubber and plastic bullets, the caving in to the Loyalist Strike, Diplock Courts and Castleragh torture centre, Supergrasses and Shoot to kill, Collusion and now Political Policing. The Press have failed miserably in “questioning authority” in all these cases IMHO.

  • I’m a plant water me

    Down Democrat,

    Stand up and take a bow, that was the most comprehensive demolishment of any arguement that I have ever witnessed, bar none.

    The fact that the Down Democrat is also prepared to stand up to the might of Connollyhouse/MI5 inspired propaganda machine, their shabby/nasty blogging committees, an MI5 paid for begging bowl wielding media empire that houses more vipers and scorpions than the hothouse of Belvue Zoo, and the knuckle dragging bar room thugs that masquerade as political discussionists leaves me breatless with admiration.

    Bravo to the men and women of the Down Democrat