Well done Noel Doran

In a era of alarming newspaper decline, it’s great to see the transformed Irish News thriving, as noticed by the Independent on Sunday. In the long ago of my youth, the Irish News eerily interspersed parish notes with IRA battalion statements – not out of any particular editorial sympathy but because of a lack of resources to meet the challenge of the Troubles and I suspect, a certain hedging of their bets over where the readership might be going. When it occasionally wanted to take an editorial line in the news columns, it had a small posse of Stormont MPs who would obligingly lend their names to the cause – sometimes unaware of what they were putting their names to, according to legend. The history of the Irish News is testimony to the inherent moderation of most Catholic opinion in spite of the rise of the paramilitaries, a tale that has yet to be well told. Those days have gone. Now the Irish News offers decent all-round news coverage with some good specialism, as in education. And while it retains the Catholic parish feel, it has added modern editorial content and appearance, with noted columnists of the likes of Emerson and Feeney. Despite the rise of Sinn Fein, the paper saw off the pro-republican competition of the surprisingly staid Daily Ireland run by the enterprising Mairtin O Muilleoir of the Andersonstown News group.

“According to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), (Noel Doran’s) paper has once again bucked the downward trend among regional titles by showing a sales increase in the second half of last year. With an average daily circulation of 47, 819, the News is the second most-read paper in Northern Ireland after the Belfast Telegraph, owned by Independent News & Media.”

As we know…

“Latterly the News has been unusual in refusing to give in to the widely held assumption that newspapers must give away their content for free on the internet. “If you’re in an area where there is online advertising, you can afford to do that,” he says. “But in Northern Ireland it is very, very hard to find – online ad revenue simply does not exist here. So we charge a £65 annual subscription. We don’t have a huge number of subscribers, but the revenue certainly helps.”

  • Bemused

    It’s a good-ish paper (though containing far too much Catholicism, bog-ball and other Father Ted-esque guff) and is my daily northern paper of choice (That said, the competition is fairly risible – the News Letter and Belfast Telegraph are vile sectarian rags and it gives me great personal pleasure to watch them slowly strangulate over time). It’s editorial line can also have a touch of the Skibereen Eagle about it on occasion.

  • In exile

    It is funny how people’s perceptions change over time. Essentially when growing up we wouldn’t have the IN in the house because it was reagrded as the paper of the old-fashioned nationalist establishment as a Belfast catholic labour types we regarded them with contempt – they never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity as the saying goes.

    The BelTel while unionist was at least liberal in outlook (eg it supported the executive in 74). The Newsletter, of course, was a sectarian rag, while Andytown News was just an IRA propaganda sheet but was often bought because it had the local news.

  • What do we think of a newspaper that awards your book The Book of the Week accolade when you write abook about your depressive illness and then the editor tells you that the reason he no longers publishes your letters is because he’s covered your book [and thus knows about your depressive illness]. Sound like anyone around here?

  • Peat Blog

    “the News Letter and Belfast Telegraph are vile sectarian rags”

    I’m bemused, Bemused. The BT has never struck me, at least in recent years when I strated to follow it a bit more closely, as a sectarian rag, being fairly liberal and midde of the road (although there is clearly a moderate unionist strain).

    What does annoy me about it though is the increasing trend towards tabloid and ‘celebrity’ style content, including a proliferation of “tits n’ ass” photos and stories over recent months. The puffing up of the property market also greatly annoys as the stories are clearly written verbatim from PR press releases for vested interests (they do own Propertynews.com after all).

    I wouldn’t have grown up reading the Irish News and I agree to a certain extent with In exile. I do appreciate, however, N Emerson and also the Ian Knox cartoons.

  • Paddy Matthews

    Bemused:

    It’s a good-ish paper (though containing far too much Catholicism, bog-ball and other Father Ted-esque guff)

    The coverage of “bog-ball” would be a major selling point in a market where a lot of the competition pretends GAA doesn’t exist – I’d put in a word in particular for Paddy Heaney’s “Against the Breeze” column.

  • niall

    The market opportunity of GAA coverage in the north is huge and they get an almost free run at it.

    In fact I would guess their GAA coverage has been their salvation as it is such an obvious way to get provincial coverage and interest every day with little effort.

    Therefore a huge GAA section opens it to readers their news coverage can’t reach daily.

    Also gaaheads have an insatiable appetite to read stuff they already know, i really don’t understand it.

    I buy it for the GAA coverage.

    It was called the “vatican echo” in a previous lifetime when the world was far away and Rome somehow closer.

  • Turgon

    Peat Blog,
    I agree re the Belfast Telegraph, it has some good political reporting and analysis but it is very difficult to find it especially on the web site.

    One thing I have never fully understood is that the Irish News requires a subscription, yet on Nuzhound you can get most of the interesting political articles for free.

  • Doctor Who

    Paddy Matthews

    “The coverage of “bog-ball” would be a major selling point in a market where a lot of the competition pretends GAA doesn’t exist -”

    How can you say that when the Sunday Life offers at least 2 pages to GAA and the Tele 4 pages weekly to sectarian GAA sports. The Irish News barely mentions local football unless it´s discussing it in all Ireland context, Derry City or a an Irish League team with a perceived Catholic support. As for our cross community international team forget it, even when we beat England at Windsor we barely got a mention.

    Having said that you where more likely to come across a copy of the Irish News in our house than you where the News Letter. As for the Daily Ireland you may have found Marty Millers rags in the bathroom in case we run out of paper to wipe the balloon knot.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Brian,

    Your 2 statements

    “In the long ago of my youth, the Irish News eerily interspersed parish notes with IRA battalion statements – not out of any particular editorial sympathy but because of a lack of resources to meet the challenge of the Troubles and I suspect, a certain hedging of their bets over where the readership might be going. ”

    and

    The history of the Irish News is testimony to the inherent moderation of most Catholic opinion in spite of the rise of the paramilitaries, a tale that has yet to be well told.

    An iterpetation to suit your own views.

    We could equally say of the IN “A paper which supported the Republican struggle through the difficult years until the British were forced to the negotiating table and is testimony to inherent character of a people vilified by the other media and to a newspaper not afraid to make a stand on principle – a story still not properly undertood by many people.

    Leaving the political point scoring aside – on the issue of it as a newspaper – it has an untidy feel about it and is disjointed and uneven in its news and sports coverage but with high quality columnists.

    One possible reason for its rise in circulation figures is that it alone of papers in Ireland still requires ‘subs’ for reading on the interent – or as the boul Horseman suggested when he ran with this story on his website a few ago it could simply be down to increased Nationalist Demographics.

    The very intesresting thing about the figures is that the IN has nearly twice as large a circulation as the NL – that is some cultural difference between 2 communities who although divided live right on top of each other?

    http://ulstersdoomed.blogspot.com/2009/02/you-are-what-you-read-newspaper.html

  • USA

    I am neither a fan of, or a participant of GAA sports (soccer man myself), but I find the use of the term ‘bog ball’ very racist and very offensive.

  • niall

    USA,

    catch yourself on.

    bog ball? it’s a game that is of this place. the bogs are of this place. chillax

  • Dáithí

    I still read it every day even though I can’t stand Jim Gibney’s, Newton Emerson’s or Fergal O’Halloran’s columns. Brian Feeney has surprised that he can still keep churning out something interesting once a week. His column is the ONLY thing worth reading in the paper on a Wednesday (Anne Hailes anyone?)

    I still think the £65 per annum internet tax is ludicrous when every other ‘quality’ newspaper provides access to its material free to generate a new, digital readership. Using online advertising as the excuse is lame, and it would be nice to see some figures to back up this approach. That said, their online side of things is poor – and in inability (even with a subscription – which I paid last year) to download an entire PDF on that morning’s edition is frustrating to say the least. You still have to download one page at a time, and if you’re just looking for sports news, death notices or perhaps the job supplement on a Thursday, guessing the page number from the PDF download section is a laugh!

    Anyway – we used to call it ‘An Fhírinne’ (The Truth), when I was at uni – still hard not to buy it every single day, though I don’t know why exactly.

  • Bycaintx

    “the inherent moderation of Catholic opinion”? Were you in outer space or somewhere else very very far away over the past forty years?

    Did the Troubles and militant Nationalism pass you by?

  • Glensman

    Well as a player of ‘bog ball’ and avid follower I think i’m qualified to say that it is an offensive term to the sport, although not racist.

    I think the content of the IN is decent although it HEAVILY leans towards the SDLP, when reading a piece of news look for who the local rep quoted is; almost always and SDLP rep even if the Nationalist MLA for the area is a shinner.

    Back to GAA and I think the more the IN expands its GAA section the more popular it gets, it is the #1 spectator sport in Ireland and gets little to no coverage on the BBC or UTV.

    http://www.hoganstand.com/ArticleForm.aspx?ID=107578

  • Sammy,

    You have been reading a different Irish News to everyone else if you think the Irish News supported the Provisional campaign at any point.

    Brian is right on the moderation issue. Historically the radicals have been in the minority (usually quite a small minority at that) during the history of NI.

  • pfhl

    USA

    How is ‘bog-ball’ offensive? I have only ever heard nationalists and most generally GAA fans say the term.

    Paddy Matthews

    Think you hit the nail on the head, the GAA coverage is fantastic. May not be a case of other papers completely ignoring it but not coming close to the great coverage provided by the Irish news.

    Doctor Who

    You touch on the Irish news not really giving local soccer a mention. Would that be because its readership are much more interested in scottish and english soccer? It is a case of providing for the customer, most private companies tend to do this. Before the last set of internationals there were three articles concerning the NI set-up and only one concerning the republic set-up. Thats the same attributed to england and wales. Not suprisly the rest of the back is filled with GAA. Whether it be the cork strike, the preview of kerry v tyrone or an analysis of Armagh greats. It just does not fit with your analysis for the lack of cover given to the NI soccer team given the fact it has more coverage that the ROI.

    Moving on from just the sport, it has excellent columnists such as Garland, Emerson, McKay and Feeney. Whether you like them or not their opinions are interesting and make a good read. Carries many good opinion pieces from local figures. In the past couple of weeks I can recall pieces by Gerry Adams and Dennis Bradley.
    We can not forget the letters page either, it is maybe not up to the debating standard of slugger but it is only a letter’s page. I am sure many of us read it enough though that we recognise a contributor’s name and know how his/her letter is likely to go. I have to admit myself though that anything outside the local news coverage is bad becasue it tends tobe very light in content but it is only a local newspaper after all. So keep up the good work Mr Doran.

    Keep up the good work Mr Doran.

  • No mention of the racing coverage? Surely that was a major factor in its victory over the Daily Ireland as well as the GAA stories.

  • It’s a pretty good read any time I buy/borrow a copy … but I’d grow to like it so much more (and be more likely to buy it more often) if I could dip into the online version without giving up at the point they ask for money.

  • chewnic

    The racing coverage is great-Red Hand and Course Wire have been around for ages. Although I heard a long time ago that Course Wire was the nom de plume of the IN’s printers (when it was printed in-house) who would pick the selections on a show of hands at tea-break!

  • Bemused

    Jim Gibney – an utter shocker. Why this semi-literate oaf is allowed anywhere near the paper is beyond me.

    Roy Garland – semi-interesting if occasionally boring (most columns consist of an “after I escaped the mental illness that is fundamentalist protestantism and right-wing unionism I came to see the world the way most normal people see it” -type morality tale).

    Newton Emerson – fairly consistently good.

    Brian Feeney – ditto.

    Anne Hailes – yawn.

    Some face-furnitured and bespectacled punter whose name escapes me but who muses on the mundanities of daily life as a middle-aged man – decidedly average.

    The paper’s depth of bog-ball and stick-fighting coverage is of course understandable. My only objection is to it’s propagation of the “all Irish men are GAA-loving, Mass-going Gaels” stereotype (the classifieds bunged full of ads for coach trips to Medjugorje, Knock, Lourdes and other abominations are prime culprits in this regard). I’m an Irish republican (in the French rather that the Ardoyne sense) and I’d happily see the GAA and the Catholic Church evaporate overnight. Unfortunately my dream daily (essentially the Irish Times with a greater northern focus) remains a pipe-dream for the time being.

  • Sean Og

    A really good paper that I feel I’m missing when I don’t see it.

    Noel Doran has done a great job in moving the paper into the modern era.

    GAA coverage is important and good but I love the Emerson column as well. I rarely agree with him but he makes me think and that’s what Newspapers should be about. Feeney is worth reading and I love the “On this Day” page.

    Good job over all.

  • Newtown Emerson is the real opposition, the way Rory Bremner was at the start of the Blair years. Unfortunately, it’s a right wing opposition, but still produces great stuff.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Bemused

    The Irish News cannot be compared or aspire to the Irish Times as they cater for different audiences – the tabloid versus the broadsheet.

    Presumably those of an Irish persuasion in Norn Iron and with a weakeness for broadsheets can buy the (cheaper – is everything cheaper in Norn Iron?) Irish Times.

  • Chris Donnelly

    I think you can only appreciate the strides forward made by the Irish News if you visit the archive library and read some of the 1980s editions of the paper (I appreciate that older Sluggerites need only consult memory on this one…)

    The paper is streets ahead of the Newsletter and, to my mind, is a better read and format than the Telegraph. Incidentally, the dramatic fall in circulation of the latter has been a story in itself over the past 15 years. It is a real possibility that the Tele and Irish News will have similar circulation figures in the mid term future if things continue to go as they seem to be.

    Noel Doran’s editorial direction has been consistently SDLP in outlook, with the elevation of Gibney to columnist the only seeming concession to the changing electoral (and therefore readership) mood of its largely northern nationalist audience.

    Complaints about bog ball and coverage of the Republic of Ireland football team neatly encapsulate the success of the paper~ for the most part it knows what its audience wants and likes and responds accordingly.

    It was also always said that the paper reported stories that other broadcast media and papers simply ignored or avoided, be it around collusion or other events or occurrences- the Saturday headline regarding comments attributed to a Hamill Inquiry ‘witness’ being a case in point.

    All being said, I agree with the earlier comment that a (more) northern-focused Irish Times remains the ideal daily of choice; it’s format and content is a place apart from all other Irish dailies- in this regard, our northern sheets remain as parochial as our general outlook.

  • Dec

    Some face-furnitured and bespectacled punter whose name escapes me but who muses on the mundanities of daily life as a middle-aged man – decidedly average.

    I believe you’re referring to the late Owen Kelly.

  • leftie

    A good newspaper, and Noel Doran does indeed deserve a lot of credit.
    But I think the columnists actually let it down.

    Jim Gibney – I can’t better than what bemused said: “Why this semi-literate oaf is allowed anywhere near the paper is beyond me”. And would add, even if he wasn’t as described, what chance is there that he will ever do anything but spin the party line? And even if he was tempted to deviate, what chance that he would have the courage?

    Roy Garland – Poor old Roy, he tries and consistently fails. This is not a column, it’s a boring life story by instalments.

    Newton Emerson – Lurking behind the schoolboy humour are some extremely right wing views. The courage to come out and openly voice them is lacking.

    Brian Feeney – Another ultra-conservative (and more) who finds that playing to the lowest common denominator comes naturally.

    Anne Hailes – Good God.

    Breige Gadd – She has tried every way possible of saying “Why don’t you all just stop fighting” and hasn’t found a way yet of making it interesting. At least James Young was mildly funny.

  • Bill Yeo

    A sectarian publication for a sectarian readership. As someone already said the Irish News knowns, and panders to, its audience.

    MOPE views stuck somewhere in the 1970s that plays it safe, with a couple of token outsiders writing in it to show how right-on it thinks itself to be, and offering no challenges to the old republican/nationalist mindset, boring and predictable.

  • LURIG

    The Irish News sectarian? I don’t think so, that’s something even it’s most strident critics couldn’t throw at it. It has columnists from all parts of Northern society unlike some other publications. Of course it draws most of it’s readership from the Nationalist community but it’s editorial stance has always been very fair. It has been as scathing to Republicans as it has to Britain for it’s shoot to kill policies and Ulster Unionism for it’s myopic intransigence. What is sectarian about it’s readership? Catholic, Irish, Nationalist? Only a Unionist bigot with an agenda would say that. Noel Doran has done a fine job there and his thoughts and pieces on Radio 5 Live are very informative and equal to all. Brian Feeney is quite brilliant as is Susan McKay while Paddy Heaney is an excellent sports journalist. Newton Emerson can be very left wing one week and offensively right wing the next but his views are thought provoking. I would agree about Jim Gibney though, a better Republican commentator is needed. I would also bring back Jude Collins who made a bad move to Daily Ireland. They should kiss and make up, I bought the paper on Thursday just for his column and he filled a Nationalist bordering on Republican view that has been lacking since he left.

  • Bemused

    Dec – no I’m not. This guy is far younger than Owen Kelly and has a goatee.

  • Brendan,belfast

    Leftie – you wrote, “Newton Emerson – Lurking behind the schoolboy humour are some extremely right wing views. The courage to come out and openly voice them is lacking.”

    I think Newton’s right wing views are anything but hidden. They inform his column every week, oin veryu entertaining fashion.

    Some of the other columnists are questionable though. About Gibney enough has been said.

    As for Briege Gadd, I swear to God that not once in my life have I been able to finish one of her columns. They are so ‘right on’ that I want to strangle her.

    Kelly is provocative in an evenhanded manner on a Monday.

    Overall the IN is a more than decent read, and the GAA stuff is wonderful.

  • tim

    ‘As for our cross community international team forget it, even when we beat England at Windsor we barely got a mention.’

    Brendan Crossan provides some great analysis and articles in the buiuld up to Ireland games. Some great stuff on Trapattoni recently.

    The Northern team is of little interest to much of the IN readership, but still gets a some column space from Kenny Archer.

  • leftie

    “…Newton’s right wing views are anything but hidden.”
    I use right wing as a euphemism. Some of his stuff is certainly thought provoking, but not in a nice way.

  • Paddy Murphy always provides an articulate and thought-provoking left-wing view when he writes, and he spares neither of the governments nor any of our local politicians.

  • Greg

    “the classifieds bunged full of ads for coach trips to Medjugorje, Knock, Lourdes and other abominations are prime culprits in this regard”

    Ach go on, being Catholic is great fun. It is like archeology without the permit.

    That’s not editorial, besides many pilgrims are better informed about the arts.

    It was the foot blistered pilgrims, that corrected the impression that Cardinal Law had been sent to an obscure post, he had in fact been promoted.

  • Suilven

    As an aside, the bould Newt had a fairly controversial column in the Irish Times last week.
    Tongue-in-cheek or deliberately offensive? You decide…

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0225/1224241774267.html?via=mr

  • skullion

    Doctor Who

    I think yo’ll find that when Norn Iron beat England IN reported it on it’s, shock horror, sports pages.Because it didn’t have it as front page news and a 15 page spread for the next year doesn’t mean they didn’t give it sufficient mention.

  • skullion

    Doctor Who

    I think you’ll find that when Norn Iron beat England IN reported it on it’s, shock horror, sports pages.Because it didn’t have it as front page news and a 15 page spread for the next year doesn’t mean they didn’t give it sufficient mention.

  • leftie

    Suliven
    Views not as well concealed as usual, in my opinion.

  • Newton Emerson

    If I have ever appeared to conceal my right-wing leanings, I sincerely apologise to all paying customers. I am unapologetically right wing and aim at all times to make this as obvious and irritating as possible. Indeed, suggestions that I may be furtively right wing are so far off the mark as to appear themselves to be furtive attempts to imply furtiveness. Surely.

    Anyhow, you know what would really shut my sort up? An all-inclusive Bill of Rights. People not politics!

  • leftie

    And thin skinned too.

  • wiseup

    I think Newton Emerson is responsible for not only the comment above but every single other one praising him.
    He was funny at the start but the joke wore thin a long long time ago.

  • Mary

    You do all realise that it’s not illegal to be a Catholic dont you?
    The paper has a nationalist readership (it has never been republican in outlook) and that’s who its playing to but they have also broke some of the biggest loyalist stories in the last year or two showing that even they dont want to speak to the News Letter anymore.

  • I can confirm that I am not Newtown Emerson. I’m much better looking, and much more left wing

  • wiseup

    I can confirm that I am not Newtown Emerson. I’m much better looking, and much more left wing

    Wouldn’t be hard – on both counts

  • leftie

    To paraphrase a woman who wrote complaining to the Irish Times, when can we expect a awk-sure-you-know-I’m-only-joking type column from the newt entitled “Foreign immigrants are to blame for the credit crunch”, quickly followed by, “Send the foreigners back where they came from”?

    Was Bernard Manning a satirist too?

  • Ian

    Was Bernard Manning a satirist too?

    No but he was much better looking and much more left wing than ‘the Newt’

  • Newton Emerson

    To paraphrase a woman who wrote complaining to the Irish Times, when can we expect a awk-sure-you-know-I’m-only-joking type column from the newt entitled “Foreign immigrants are to blame for the credit crunch”, quickly followed by, “Send the foreigners back where they came from”?

    Well, never – because a piece about the fallacy of blaming men for the credit crunch has nothing whatsoever to do with immigration. Do keep screaming “racist” at everyone to the right of you though. It’s chillingly persuasive.

  • perform

    The Irish News has done well in these trying times because its well run, well written and has motivated reporters who produce the goods along with a diverse range of columnists who love them or hate them keep you interested. Its not brain surgery and you would wonder why the tele and NL are failing to pick up on that. Produce a paper people want to read whats so hard about that?

  • leftie

    “…because a piece about the fallacy of blaming men for the credit crunch…”

    Where is the FALSE blaming of men?

    Do you mean that because about 99% of leading bankers and investors are men, and about 90% of world political leaders are men, and these are the people that are being held directly responsible for the mess we’re in, that this is somehow sexist and anti-male?
    Or is it because you believe that the bankers and politicos aren’t really to blame for the credit crunch, because it’s only women who max out credit cards, and buy houses, cars and holidays they can’t afford?
    I think by you’re attempt at a defence, you prove the charge of sexism that is being made against you.

  • Newton Emerson

    A few links here, of the type that have been running across the media for almost a year:

    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article4848188.ece

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/09/city-executive-salaries-jackie-ashley

    http://www.cityam.com/index.php?news=29970

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/investing-and-markets/article.html?in_article_id=440389&in_page_id=3

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/985/1000985/male-hormones-causing-credit

    http://www.women-omics.com/411-0-credit-crunch-report-anna-cecilie-holst.html

    These stories accelerated after the recent switch of government in Iceland, and this is the shallow Saturday-feature comment I was mocking with my Irish Times article. The target was fairly obviously flagged up from the start, which even included a reference to Iceland.

    People who took this seriously are either as dumb as spanners or in serious need of some recreational victimhood validation. I really wonder how they manage to get dressed in the morning. Present company excepted, obviously.

    I trust that this reply will not be seen as proof of guilt of whatever… racism, presumably. It is a little silly of you to post on a noticeboard then call other people who post here “thin-skinned” and “defensive”. Don’t you think?

  • Bemused

    “…………Don’t you think?”

    Posted by Newton Emerson on Mar 02, 2009 @ 07:59 PM

    The clear problem Newt – he (or perhaps she) doesn’t.

  • Newton Emerson

    PS: Forgot this one – a personal favourite.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/22/iceland-women

  • leftie

    “…the fallacy of blaming men for the credit crunch”. In other words, we should blame women instead.

    By his own words was he known.

    If it was a one off, okay maybe. But it wasn’t. This was only the latest in a long line of articles by you attacking women, all under the guise of humour.
    Bernard Manning by a different name.

  • Newton Emerson

    A long line of articles attacking women? Cite three. And try not to confuse attacking the Women’s Coalition, or former members thereof, with attacking women.

  • RG Cuan

    This advertisement for The Irish News seems a bit out of place.

    It’s a good enough newspaper which has become much less nationalist in recent years. They rarely have any real international news of note and local news is interspersed with really important stories about Jade Goody et al.

    I think, editorially, they are a bit out of touch with the community they serve though their very strong GAA coverage will mean that people will continue to buy.

  • leftie

    Firstly, there was hardly an issue of the Portadown News that wasn’t lambasting certain named women because of their looks, and carried numerous other general attacks on young women because of what you perceived to be their habits and lifestyle.
    You hounded the Women’s Coalition in a way you never did with any other party, the problem it seemed was that some intelligent women had the cheek to form a party and articulate a position. Presumably, in your view, they should have been staying home doing dishes and looking after children.
    This has carried on with your periodic attacks upon and snipes at Monica McWilliams. Nuala O’Loane was another regular target, for no apparent reason other than she was a woman.

    Second, I’ve trawled through your numerous links and can see nothing that relates to your claim about “…the fallacy of blaming men for the Credit Crunch”, much less anything to support an article blaming women for it.

    You really don’t get it do you?
    The people most responsible for the Credit Crunch, who are getting the blame, just happen to be men. There is no women/liberal led conspiracy, apart from in your mind.

  • Newton Emerson

    Nonsense. I don’t recall ever criticising Nuala O’Loan and this is what I had published in the Saturday column on her retirement:

    “So farewell then to Nuala O’Loan, who steps down as Police Ombudsman next week after eight years of exceptional public service (a phrase I’ve never used in this column before and may never use again). Upon her appointment it was clear that certain people thought they had hired a harmless housewife to push around. Has the NIO now learned that when it comes to building confidence, pit-bulls beat poodles? Don’t count on it.”

    As for the fallacy of blaming men for the credit crunch, it is the fallacy of blaming any gender for a global economic event that is fallacious, and that is the (obvious) target of the Irish Times piece.

    It seems that you have some kind of personal animums here, based on dubious recollections of what I have written. I asked you to cite specific examples of “attacking women” in my articles. You clearly can’t.

  • In fairness, the Women’s Coalition deserved to be attacked more than any other party given it was the most vacuous party that perhaps the world has ever seen. The line boiled down to women are less aggressive than men, and so should be at the negotiations. For fuck’s sake.

  • leftie

    “As for the fallacy of blaming men for the credit crunch, it is the fallacy of blaming any gender for a global economic event that is fallacious,…”

    You still don’t get it. Virtually all of the head bankers and world political leaders are men. They are being blamed, not because of their gender, but because they are most at fault for the mess we are in. To extrapolate from that a justification for an attack on women – given your history of just this sort of thing – and pretend it to be some sort of balancing exercise is ridiculous. It’s the conjuring up of the thinnest of excuses to launch another attack on one of your favourite targets.

    And sorry, I didn’t bother keeping anything from Portadown News, or any of your articles for that matter, where I can cite line for line what you said.
    But for you to use that to try and deny your previous stuff on women and young girls in Portadown News, your almost weekly attacks on the female members of a certain political party because of their looks in PN, and your crusade against the Women’s Coalition and your continuing periodic attacks on Monica McWilliams is nothing less than dishonest.
    Your denials speak volumes.

  • Newton Emerson

    So you’re blaming a particular gender for the credit crunch. Isn’t that a bit… sexist?

    You don’t need to keep a clippings file to get at my stuff – just Google anything you can remember. I can’t recall anything I’ve written “attacking women” and it’s pretty obvious that you can’t either.

    If you’ve a vague impression of misogyny from the Portadown News, you’re taking a one-eyed look back at an equal-opportunity offender. That would be your priority.

    As for the WCs, they were as good as defunct when I started writing and I’ve merely tracked the progress of certain former members into quangoland. I’ve never critised them for being women, ever. I have questioned the premise of an all-women political party, but only for raising the concept of “the wrong sort of women” in other parties. I have often mentioned the WC’s proposal, after losing all their seats, for 1/3rd of local councillors to be “appointed”. This was an attack on democracy. How is it an attack on women to say so?

    Ms McWilliams’ appointment as Human Rights Comissioner was questionable and her performance has been lamentable, in my opinion. I’ve expressed that opinion without ever even noting her gender, not that I would ever have needed to. Criticism of Ms McWilliams is no more “anti-women” than criticism of Peter Robinson is anti-men. Recourse to gender as a defence is ludicrous.

    However, I think we are getting to the nub of your own problem with what I write (apart from not being able to recall it accurately, or in any detail at all).

  • Bemused

    Leftie – please stop – you’re embarrassing yourself.

  • Brendan,Belfast1

    leftie – or anyone else – please do not try and defend the Human Rights Commission, or its head, Monica. It devalues everyting else you might have to say.

    The only thing you could do whcih would be as worthless is to portray attacks on her as gender baded. It is fairly clear that such attacks are based on, and aimed at her absolute incompetence.

    As of this morning – when Patricia Lesley has accused me of being a child abuser – it is a simple fact that two of our worst quangoland representatives are female.

    Are they above criticism because of their gender? Or is it sexist to expect that their gender puts them out above criticism?

  • leftie

    Brendan
    No is the answer to both your questions. Their gender shouldn’t come in to it, one way or the other.
    That is exactly my point against Newton Emerson, when he freely admits that he sees attacks on bankers and politicians, because of the economic mess they’ve gotten us into, as attacks against men. They just happen to be men, that’s all.
    But he attacks women to even the score.

    The fact that he immediately interprets the attacks on bankers and politicos as being motivated because of their gender, and given his dreary record in this regard, has to raise serious questions regarding his attitude to women.

  • Newton Emerson

    This would be the “record” you can’t cite a single example from, Leftie? And claimed to include attacks on Nuala O’Loan, who I’ve done nothing but praise, for “being a woman”?

    Re-read the links to the articles I posted above, which my Irish Times article was a response to. Their headlines include: “What caused the credit crunch? Men and testosterone”; “To chop city bonuses, start by cutting the testosterone”; and “Male hormones causing credit crunch”. Clearly not a case of mentioning people “who just happen to be men” – and clearly ripe for a piss-take.

    Why this has upset you so much is a better question. It would be interesting to know something of your stake in this argument. Without a little background, you simply appear rather desperate to be offended.

  • brendan,belfast

    Leftie, you are bankrupt in terms of decent argument, or answers to fairly straight questions (you have stated that Newton attacked Nuala O’Loan in his IN column – can you show us where?).

    I think you had best leave it alone now. Have a lie down.

  • austin

    Give us a witty aside or funny story to cheer us up, Newton

  • Newton Emerson

    Errr… ok. My all-time favourite joke:

    A hydrogen atom walks into a bar.
    “Have you seen my electron?” he asks.
    “No,” says the barman.
    “Are you sure you’ve lost it?”
    “Oh yes,” says the hydrogen atom.
    “I’m positive.”

  • Noel Doran has done a great job in moving the paper into the modern era.

  • What a great post. What an inspiration for everyone who is asking ‘Where is all this stuff I’ve asked for?’ and getting frustrated. I am in love the way you express yourself, and I thank you for doing it with such passion and honest reflection.
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