Be careful what you say to a journalist…

In these days of digital recordings and podcasting, they have a way of telling the world what you actually said… Yesterday Childrens’ Commissioner Patricia Lewsley disputed the veracity of a Newsletter report about her remarks on parents who smack… so they posted a transcript and the original recording online today… Not only does it give an accurate picture of what was said, it also gives the precise context of the conversation… Nice one Newsletter!!


  • Gilbo

    Just listen to the Talk Back interview and you can tell how confused Patricia is on this subject. William Crawley had to press her repeatedly just to get an answer and when he did, she was exposed as utterly out of her depth. This is very sad because Northern Ireland’s children deserve a serious and articular advocate and they do not have on at the moment. Hats off to the Newsletter for posting the audio of the interview with her. It proves that she DID make an equation between child abuse and parental smacking. That equation was clear enough from Crawley’s interview with here (notwithstanding her protestations to the contrary) and it is crystal clear from the audio now in the public domain.

  • Have to say that having listened to the audio and read the transcript the issue seems to be that in Tuesday’s headline there were quotation marks around the line “like child abusers”. Nowhere in the interview does she say those words. Okay, that may be a technicality, but bottom line is she didn’t say those words. So whose quotation was it? The interpretation of the reporter from answers to questions? The sub-editor?

    As to the equation with hitting to abuse, from what I listened to she differentiated between the act of hitting and an abuser.

    The bottom line is that in Northern Ireland today it is illegal to hit/smack/beat/tap your child. If brought before the court you can offer a defence of reasonable chastisement if there are no ‘transitory marks’. As I understand it (and I may be wrong) the Commissioner wants to remove this defence if – and it is a big if – a parent is accused of hitting/smacking/beating their child.

    Seems reasonable, but then again I might be a lily-livered left wing liberal and not noticed it….

  • wild turkey

    ‘This is very sad because Northern Ireland’s children deserve a serious and articular advocate and they do not have on at the moment. ‘ Agree 101%. At the moment, they do not have one.

    In view of other recent episodes, ie recent appeal court cases, the competence of the current Commissioner, and her support staff, has to be a matter of concern; concern to parents, teachers and all who have REAL care responsiblities for children and a genuine and credible engagement with the childs day to day welfare and development.

    Back to the media issues. In a weird way, this episode and the Commissioners performance is reminiscent of Hilary’s account of landing in Bosnia. That said, if it is all down to spin management, perhaps Vanessa Feltz provides a one day course in ‘Handling the Media: A Politically Correct Approach’. Yeah, I know the taxpayer, including parents, foots the bill for course fees and incurred expenses… But remember, they these things for, uh, US.

  • Wild Turkey…take on board your arguments, but as a child cannot be hit in school, foster care or in a residential home it all seems a little like a double (quadruple?) standard from legislators. The law, as it stands, says teachers (acting in locum parentis) cannot hit children. If a child is put in foster care (and according to the commissioner and the DHSSPS almost 500 are on the at risk register because of physical abuse) or a residential home they cannot be hit, smacked etc. In other words the law says you cannot hit a child if you are a teacher, foster carer or residential home worker…but if you are a parent then fire away! The issue, for me, is that the commissioner is the only one speaking uout for children…which is exactly what the Assembly created the post for! And after reading the hysteria I have to note that less than 2% of Lewsley’s budget per annum has been spent on this case. Just shows that, having been on her website – the issues she has been campaigning on – like speech and language therapy, young people’s mental health, the poor lack of expenditure on children’s personal social service are ignored

  • Harry Flashman

    “This is very sad because Northern Ireland’s children deserve a serious and articular advocate”

    It is my understanding that the vast and overwhelming majority of Northern Ireland’s children do in fact have extremely dedicated, serious and indeed devoted advocates.

    They’re called parents.

  • ?!

    Why do children need a Commissioner in the first place?

  • Conference Room Crusader

    The CC has no democratic mandate nor do her policies, add to this her apparent contempt for public accountability and the public will and we really really should be asking our elected officials what they plan to do to rid of the burden of this and other quangos. The policies of such being often contrary to our wishes, and, given that these guys seem to be stuck on policy ideas popular in the 1970’s, which were put into effect in England with apparent negative results, one struggles to express anything other than anger towards these often vacuous characters who purport this out dated rot(with that air of smugness and contempt that seems ubiquitous when you encounter those advancing their own agenda at the public expense).

    Our Country, Our Values, Our Money (sort of…), Our way ! Smash the Quangos !

    Anglicans, Romanists and Bible Believers unite !

    etc !

  • cynic

    Another dysfunctional quango we can do without

  • CRC

    And if you don’t stop them now their degrading influence will grow and their, detrimental to society, policies will become all the more bold and absurd. An example, in the form of a quote from an investigation by a ‘science’ quango located in and funded by that often praised bastion of the self styled ‘progressive’ movement, Sweden:

    “The overarching question is to determine what mechanism and social and cultural connections in time and space form, create, and are re-created through the trumpet as a gender symbol. In order to discern these, it becomes necessary to problematize…” (this is not a word – Crusader) “….the notions of male and female and to examine closely the notions that are at work and create the trumpet as a marker of manliness.”

  • Penfold

    “I have to note that less than 2% of Lewsley’s budget per annum has been spent on this case

    Yeah but how much of the budget is wasted so that Patricia can have a large ground floor office on a prime location on Great Victoria Street? And once you’ve taken that out of the pot, where is the other 98% being wasted?

  • veritas

    she was an awful politician and now!!!

    must run!

  • The Serpent

    Guess who else has a large ground floor office in Great Victoria Street…..

    Aal gie eet to ye in the hamely tongue:

    Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch
    68-72 Muckle Victoria Raa

  • Hogan

    Belfast Metal, i would have thought that to you it should’ve been perfectly clear what was on the transcript?

    You were in the room. We heard you.

    Jonathan FFS if you are going to comment on something as close to your workign life as this incident surely a little more up-front approach would be advisable?

  • The Many Aliases of Jonathan Traynor

    Jonathan prefers to post as “Sean, North Belfast” when defending his boss on other noticeboards. He doesn’t realise his account name still shows up at the top of the postings. The whole town is laughing at him over it. Tool.