“I may not be popular in Ireland for saying this…”

As noted previously, the idea that Tony O’Reilly is the problem with the Irish media is copper fastened into what discourse there exists on media and politics in Ireland. Yet it is a story that Roy Greenslade believes is little more than a myth, that would barely outlast a hostile takeover from Denis O’Brien. Adds the relevant passage:

I don’t know much about O’Brien but I know a lot about O’Reilly. And, though I may not be popular in Ireland for saying this, the man who has run IN&M for the best part of 40 years has nurtured good newspapers around the world. In Britain, he saved The Independent from possible demise – and the clutches of David Montgomery – and has sacrificed millions to keep it going. He has also allowed its journalists a surprising amount of editorial freedom. O’Brien, on the other hand, wants it to be sold off.

  • Frank Sinistra

    I can’t see anything that refers to Sir Tony’s position in the Irish media. He does mention the English Independent as a potential positive but that has no impact on what IN&M gets up to in Ireland.

    The corporate raider tag he dishes out is also a little hard to support as O’Brien hasn’t engaged in asset selling and the allegation about seeking to sell of the Independent is merely an allegation which has been denied by the O’Brien camp.

    Dirty tricks on behalf of the boss?

    Though I’m no fan of tax avoiders like O’Brien either and doubt he’d bring any more balance to the Irish media.

  • Mick Fealty

    Relevant passage added.

    Not sure what you mean by ‘the boss’? Greenslade works for the Guardian, and his relationship with the Independent group is not always as sunny as it might be. Indeed the feeling has been sometimes been reciprocated.

    Hard to say what O’Brien’s motives are since every time I have heard him asked about them, he has declined to answer. But I do know this O’Reilly bating business is a stand in for a decent discourse on what makes for good journalism in Ireland. In many cases, it is made by people that I otherwise have the utmost respect for.

  • Frank Sinistra


    I don’t understand how you see something benign with IN&M group control of the printed press in Ireland.

    One man essentially owns 80% of the National papers. He also owns a huge percentage of the regional press.

    The Sunday Tribune debacle only adds to it, once it went to the wall and the Times started expressing an interest in buying to enter the Sunday market, O’Reilly began trying to buy it up. Once outright control was blocked he bought up their debts. Irish competition was stifled.

    Since then the Tribune, which could have competed like before, has been run into the ground.

    Look at Jody Corcoran, breaking the financial scandals well ahead of the pack until the O’Reilly group declared for Bertie then an investigative journalist on the top of their game was suddenly silenced. The (English) Mail becomes the only paper willing to carry stuff once O’Reilly meets with Bertie’s boys.

    I used to think Jody was a player too.

    Everyone has a price or boss it seems.

  • Frank Sinistra

    And something you may want to do at some point is check the Eoghan Harris ‘here, here and here’ against when Browne said the meeting with Bertie’s boys took place.

    Critical before isn’t critical after. That’s a sucker punch. And you walked right into it.

    IN&M spin, hooked you.

  • Watch my back.

    Hot off the press,
    there has been a big shake up at the Sunday Times ( Ireland ) a senior member of the editorial staff has been paid off, I wonder if Sue would like to inform us of his position.