Any softpedallng on Adams unlikely to be politically motivated

Mick is the latest to suggest that the mainstream local media have been soft pedalling in pursuit of Gerry Adams’s fast moving goalposts in order not to “rock public opinion” at a very sensitive time politically. The charge is certainly worth examining. I don’t want to be dogmatic about it, still less a knee- jerk defender of the mainstream media over their coverage. But my first problem with the argument is this. Why be soft on Adams and hard on Robinson if the aim is to somehow to shield the political process? It doesn’t stack up for me.I’ve just had a quick look at how my former associates in the BBC and the Belfast Telegraph have covered the Adams affair in hard news on their websites. I must say, I don’t hear an “ eerie silence”; I hear a chorus in support of Suzanne Breen’s and the Irish News’s leads. I’ve counted around a dozen stories in just over a week from each. The Bel Tel has even carried a Breen piece slamming the local media for treating Adams with kid gloves. As Suzanne who is seldom slow to make a case doesn’t offer an answer, is her charge really true in the sense she suggests? True, these stories have been rewrites or obvious follow-ups and not original investigative material compared to what each has been doing on aspects of Irisgate.

Why not? Are they remiss? Up to a point. On Adams, Suzanne has been doing much of the grind work and much of the rest of the press have been riding on the back of it, just as everyone seized on BBC Spotlight’s exclusive whistleblowing. Although restraints have been cast aside, some caution is still needed on Adams, if only in the interests of fairness, as Mick has rightly warned. The Sunday Tribune have been taking considerable risks over defamation, confidentiality and reporting detail that could prejudice a trial. The Cahill case goes very far indeed, as if the paper believes there’s little chance of a prosecution or need to shield the victim, despite her voluntary testimony. Note too the police’s warning to Gerry Adams over his own persistent attempts at self-exculpation. That line may actually have been crossed some time ago, albeit arguably in the public interest.

Newspapers’ editorials help readers make judgements on their policy. I think it fair to say that the Irish Times are very protective of the peace process.. By law, the BBC of course may not take any editorial line, although its journalists can sharply angle questions and topics. I have no inside knowledge of their editorial thinking at the present juncture but a good deal about the BBC’s editorial stances for 20 years during the Troubles. In common with other media the BBC bowed to intense and sometimes unscrupulous pressure on well-attested occasions over claims that stories would inflame violence or give an easy hit to paramilitaries. Restraint, or if you prefer self-censorship, played a part particularly over timing of publication. Frequently however, the BBC published and took the heat. Those days are long gone. Today I just don’t see how any representations formal or informal from the likes of Shaun Woodward (“ with huge respect.”), would translate into going easy on Adams. Whether under pressure or left to themselves, broadcasters just don’t weigh up the direct effect of a story on supposedly political outcomes when it comes to publishing or not. Look at the record of struggle with Alistair Campbell- but that’s another long story. If I’m wrong, Ill be more than disappointed.

How do I rate the Adams affair as a story? Cumulatively gripping, but quite a slow burn which could yet ignite. The long fuse partly consists of Gerry Adams himself under pressure. The allegations against both Adams brothers may well be about a greater immorality than anything Iris Robinson committed. But news judgements are essentially amoral although moral judgements may figure. The painstaking trawl through newspaper records about who said what and when, if at all, lacks the punch of the Iris affair, particularly for broadcasters. Moreover the political fallout has been conspicuously less so far. Almost certainly Adams’s exposure would have been greater had he been deputy first minister. But those still on the hunt can take comfort: this is surely a story that hasn’t peaked yet.

Why did the police and social services not perform better? Think of Victoria Climbie, think Baby Peter in London and now think Doncaster. Project that record onto republican royalty in West Belfast, even after the final ceasefire. The thought is not an excuse but a partial explanation. I see that Gerry Adams is now trying to shift some blame onto the RUC. Gobsmacking effrontery doesn’t express it.

  • abc123

    “Why be soft on Adams and hard on Robinson”
    Because of the SF P-IRA people in key positions in the media.

  • The media have long been supporters of first IRA, then PIRA and then of course Sinn Fein.

    It may be that their reticence is due to shock that their hero may have feet of clay, or it could be fear of getting facts wrong in a litigious world.

    Why makes no difference they have been treating Gerry Adams with undue deference, and I hope it will stop now that more serious stories are happening and they are being seen as not just slow but hopelessly biased.

    Why not blame the RUC it has always worked in the past, and they do have a case to answer, but that does not alter the fact: so does he.

  • Alias

    I also hear plenty of NI’s media praising Ms Breen investigative legwork but I don’t see any of them following her example. They can hardly ignore the story after Ms Breen has published it and still escape the public’s wonderment at their uselessness but they do their best to downplay it, and they add nothing whatsoever to the investigation. The media can test the veracity of plenty of statements from Mr Adams by tracking down these people he is alleged to have warned about his brother’s sexual proclivities but such investigation may run the risk of undermining a puppet of the state by falsifying those statements, so the media prefer to be spectators, adding nothing to Ms Breen’s work except praise.

  • Alias

    “The media have long been supporters of first IRA, then PIRA and then of course Sinn Fein.”

    The Anderstown News, but which other media? The media have long been supporters of state control over them in the interests of British national security. That only reason that protection is now extended to the Shinners is because they are now part of the security apparatus of the British state. Any part of the Shinners’ political agenda that conflicts with the interests of British nationalism (such as the parts that are fed to the supporters) enjoys no such support, and indeed is derided as naked sectarianism or belligerent nationalism.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    the boston globe recently wrote an article saying gerry adams had to go.

  • Alias

    As long ago as the Thatcher years the press were partisan. You must not have been watching the absurd caricatures Brit tv paraded when Gerry Adams had been banned from them.

    The liberal press, particularly in England, have supported Sinn Fein. In a country with tabloids like rottveilers, hardly a word about this scandal. Are you serious, if its there and they want to expose it, Sinn Fein would stand no chance, they are experts at digging the dirt, or in this case filth. If there is one thing the Brits have that is second to none, its a gutter press, and they are holding fire. why?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    The Media have an easy ride when defending themselves against charges of bias…because the charges come from both sides. Therefore the BBC Editors feign exasperation and claim they are piggy in the middle surrounded by unreasonable people.
    A problem I have with TV news is that TRUTH is often sacrificed at the expense of BALANCE. Noel Thompson or Jim Fitzpatrick sit in the middle and two or more talking heads are allowed equal time. It would be nice if Noel or Jim just said……”well actually I think Jim Allister got the better of that exchange” or “David Forde is talking rubbish”.
    Of course the BBC and UTV simply get round this lack of judging by simply bringing journos from outside the beeb or havelock house into the studio.
    “what do you think Malachi …..suzanne…..darwin….fionnuala”?

    do some bbc or other journos have any connexion to MI5 for example…Kim Philby, Chapman Pincher.
    Was there not an office at the Beeb in London where staff including journos were positively vetted…..including I am sure Belfast staff. Perhaps a similar office existed/exists in Ormeau Avenue. In all the years of the Troubles has no Belfast based journo been approached to plant a story…perhaps an appeal to patriotism.
    It would seem extraordinarily remiss of MI5 MI6 whatever NOT to have a journo in place.
    As the history of MI5 is currently taught as a MA in QUB, maybe some names will emerge.

    With Slugger O’Toole so dominated by journalists it would be surprising not to see the normal depictions of journalists as fearless seekers of the Truth……Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and er Lou Grant.
    As has been observed journalists have persuaded themselves that they only ever held back on the Truth if the alternative was it might cost lives.
    Sadly the opposite seems to be the case for those of us a certain vintage…maybe things would have been different if the BBC and others had reported the Truth more fearlessly in the 1970s when the imperitave was defeat of Terrorism..
    Maybe they should have been more fearless in pointing out the inconsistencies in the Peace Process when the required narrative was not doing anything to rock that boat.

    Now maybe Government has tired of the extremes being in charge……and maybe the DUP and SF are now fair game in a way they have not been in a decade.

  • Paul

    Suzanne Breens reporting in the tribune and the threads on slugger on this scandal have being first class and i thank you for that.The rest of the media etc have being spineless and weak quite pathetic at times the Adams child abuse scandal is far far more serious than the robinsons case its time sections of the media etc caught themselves on. We the public demand that they follow the lead of Suzanne Breen who I thank for keeping us updated in this appalling child abuse case.More than can be said of the other media spineless lot.

  • Thirty Years Later…..Ardoyne Republican Blog

    Please feel free to comment okay!

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    I found a link to the jan.7th article by niall O’dowd of the Irish voice and the story he wrote in support of gerry adams and against the boston globe article that called for gerry adams to leave

    people like niall o’dowd have put alot of time and effort into the leadership of sinn fein and there closeness to gerry adams. If gerry goes and goes with such an ‘ick’ factor…their political influence and closeness to the ‘king’ goes with it.

  • KathyC

    I read the article and even posted a comment! The man is blatantly biased and needs to get out in the fresh air more.

    Suzanne Breen has done a magnificent job and I am grateful for her tenacity and undaunted spirit. I hope she keeps it up.

  • Kevsterino

    I understand people believe the child abuse allegations require a public airing.

    However, I wish folks would be mindful of the ultimate objective of successfully prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes. Anything which could jeopardize putting rapists, sadists and child torturers behind bars must be avoided even if it means temporarily hushing up on stories of potent political impact. Those will come out in good time.

  • joeCanuck

    “We the public demand…” – once again!

    Who made this guy Public Spokesperson?

    Maybe Pete can give us his insight.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good post Brian and a good thread to follow all.

    Kev, in fact you are dead right of course. I would like to host a guest post setting out the absolute importance of confidentiality in child protection.

    I don’t expect an official post, but someone with professional experience, possibly from Queens of the University of Ulster could provide an important perspective on that matter.

    The point about confidentiality is critical, particularly in regard to contemporary cases. Someone on an earlier thread made the point that child abuse has nothing to do with politics or the troubles, which is correct.

    And, as I was at pains to point out when the Liam Adams story broke, the actual breaking of the stories into the public domain means that it is almost impossible for either party to get justice.

    The difficulty in these historic cases is that the victims are coming forward, much as they did against the church because they have made no headway in private terms.

    Ideally the best response from victims of abuse by paramilitaries and others is for them to come forward to the social services. I just wonder, given the emergence of these stories, whether there is sufficient confidence in the social services as they stand?

  • [b]The Nest of Vipers loves your Pussyfooting Sensitivity and Diffidence around their Sub Prime Times of Personal Gratification and Internal Struggle against External Appearance.[/b]

    [quote][i]The Sunday Tribune have been taking considerable risks over defamation, confidentiality and reporting detail that could prejudice a trial.[/i][/quote]

    Don’t let anyone be afraid of sharing the truth as they know it, for it is the disinfectant that kills germs and never prejudices any trial, so be aware of those who would try to intimidate you into silence with any suggestion that it might ….. for what is to say that they do not have an agenda to bury horrid incriminating facts which hide crimes against the person and order.

    And is that the all too apparent problem too, in Stormont presently, with regard to the devolution of Peace and Justice [and its always attendant Big Brother Twin Sister, Actionable Intelligence] with past tribalisms and personal empire buildings on the back of decades worth of orchestrated public sufferings which offered nothing but death and destruction to the Greater Good, that which a new Ministry would be and is faced with, in the faces of those being tasked with its Creation for Peace and Justice for the Greater Good People. An abiding Universal Problem in all Lands and Administrations trying to hide and launders Dirty Deeds and Dodgy Dossiers done Dirt Cheap for All Expenses Paid and Personal Luxury Charged to and Debitted from the Public Purse.

    The crazies are running amok in the asylum? Time for a change and some radical order and orders, methinks.

    What those who are in charge of anything nowadays [b]NEED TO KNOW[/b], and I make no apology for [b]SHOUTING[/b]that, is that there is no such thing as Secrecy in a Communications Rich InterNetworking Environment, where from the Time one is born, one has an embarrassment of available free sites to share what one knows about what one has experienced and with whom, and that enables and exposes everyone to everyone else’s experiences, with many of them being decidedly criminal and unaccepable in a Post Modern Open Secretless Global Village …… Global Operating Device Society.

    Take Care out there ….. All of your secrets now belong to Us and Everyone Else to Share Freely for the Disinfectant of the Light of Day and True Confessions for Swift and Just Redemption and/or Righteous Punishment.

    Or have you A.N.Other More Noble Nobel Solution for Peace and Justice to take over from, and Highlight for Prevention and Cure, Chaos and Anarchy? If so, speak up LoUD AND CLEAR, for the Stage will be yours and rightly so, with All Possible Absolutely Fabulous Support.

    And Brian, you cannot be serious with [b]Any softpedallng on Adams unlikely to be politically motivated[/b] for is everything politically motivated, and in political gangs/cliques/circles/fake churches/unholy orders/faithless foundation/dodgy libraries, even more so.

    Put that in you Peace Pipe and Pontificate on IT, at your Leisure with our Pleasure.

  • Scaramoosh

    Answer A – Rival factions of the Securocrats at work
    Answer B – A sign of the new Catholic ascendancy
    Answer C – All in the mind.
    Answer D – Adams is Satan, whilst Robinson is just a lost prophet.

    Leave your answer and a disclosure of any medication you may currently be taking…..

  • jtwo

    As I understand it the sexual abuse complainant who was de facto identified by the Tribune and Irish News issued a statement last night saying she had never given her consent to be identified as a victim of sexual abuse (it seems she was OK with the other child cruelty matters appearing.)

    Which puts into perspective Mick’s blithe assurances that an ID waiver wasn’t an issue.

    Or perhaps the wishes of a vulnerable woman can be steam-rollered for politico-journalistic ends by people who have a limited knowledge of the law as it relates to the reporting of sexual offences?

  • Cynic2

    “perhaps the wishes of a vulnerable woman can be steam-rollered for politico-journalistic ends ”

    Of course that’s much worse than her being assaulted and abused in the first place, the abuse covered up, the abuser being resettled in Donegal and her even being denied access to a Counsellor because it might become public and damage Sinn Fein.

  • jtwo

    Yes of course, two wrongs certainly make a right.

    And anyway you appear to be conflating the two cases from the Tribune.

  • belfast greyhound

    As the Guardian put it son nicely about another scheming and mendacious politician, ‘He lied and lied and lied and lied’.
    Mr Adams is walking in the same footsteps and his constantly changing story is in the realm of GOBU.
    The whole affair throws open a door on to the highly undemocratic way this allegedly democratic politician and his allegedly democratic party actually operates.
    It strains credence beyond breaking point to believe that Adams was the only person at the top and throughout the organisation who knew about the allegations about his brother and all who knew were compliant in the corrupt cover-up.
    Republican and Loyalist terror groups existed(s) in atmospheres of secrecy and covering up things is entirely normal for them.
    But the affair shows up the new realisation that the Republican side is dominated by dynastic families wielding power and influence over events and decision taking through the organisation in an entirely ad hoc and undemocratic fashion.
    Like a Medieval Prince Adams can dismiss a member of the organisation according to his claims about how he dealt with his brother and then pretend that dark is light and change his story(s) as it suits him.
    He must be pursued in these affairs by the disinfectant of daylight and the only channel for that is through the Press and the blogs.
    Politicians are people who will say one thing and do another but if there has been a widespread cover-up of this and the other allegations of abuse now revealed in the Tribune and Irish News it shows a morally bankrupt leadership interested they say in change but only if everything stays the same for them.

  • alan56

    What is it you don’t want us to know?

  • jtwo

    Alan don’t be an arsehole.

    I’m not trying to conceal anything; I’m just pointing there were blithe assurances that we could pick over the details of an alleged sexual assault to out heart’s content and not a divil of bother on us.

    But it’s a bit more complicated than that.

  • alan56


    Tetchy then?

  • jtwo

    Tell you what, maybe I should post enough information on here which will enable everyone to identify the complainant in the Willie Wilkinson rape case?

    Surely no-one could object as the principle has already been established that on this blog its OK to ID complainants in sex abuse cases against their wishes?

  • Stewart

    I wonder how much consideration Suzanne Breen or The Irish News and others gave to the feelings of the poor girl who suffered this terrible abuse?

    I would say very little, its all about me, me, me and selling papers or getting a few extra clicks.

    The online & media vultures have shown little concern for this woman. Everyone is aware that she went to court to get this story stopped, yet they ran with it anyway and continue to drag it through the mud.

    No doubt any future prosecutions have been damaged by the self interest of the media in making a quick pound or two.

    Stories have to be told, but the likelihood of the victims getting justice through the courts has been damaged by their disclosure prior to any possible trial or court appearances.

    I doubt there is any possibility of Liam Adams being convicted of any crimes after the press coverage over the last couple of weeks. Any word on that international arrest warrant?

  • John Joe

    “she had never given her consent to be identified as a victim of sexual abuse”

    I haven’t seen this running anywhere yet. Is there a link available?

  • UlsterWatcher

    So Mick is having a hissy fit that the media isn’t running with Suzanne’s story as much as he expected?

    Here’s a thought…

    If Suzanne believes Aine Tyrell’s account then she also accepts Aine’s claim that the police (whom Adams told her to go to) tried to recruit her as an informer, yes? Suzanne accepts that, yes?

    So, here we have a situation where a child claims she is being sexually abused and the police say become an informer and we might look into it. A scandal, simple as.

    Indeed, I can almost see the headline in The Tribune: “Ulster Cops Exploit Abused Child For Spy Purposes.” Well, if everything Aine has claimed is true – according to Suzanne – then that is what heppened, is it not?

    So, will we be seeing a major investigation by Suzanne into the police’s attempt to exploit a sexually abused child? Well, Suzanne? If not, why not?

    And will Mick be having a hissy fit because the media isn’t picking up on this aspect of the story either? Well, Mick?

    You know what the really ridiculous thing is here, it’s that the very people who attacked SF/IRA for attempting to police their own areas during the troubles are now attacking for them failing to police their own areas enough! Utter hypocrisy.

    The greater weight of duty of care actually lay with the RUC – not Gerry Adams. Yet the police’s cynical manipulation (well Suzanne belives Aine’s account anyway) – isn’t being followed up by the media. Is that not a problem too, Mick? Well?

    So, Mick, will be you be asking the media to follow up the police’s failings here? It’s obvioulsy true given that Suzanne and yourself believe Aine’s account over Adams’.

    I’ll await to see Mick’s daily commentary on the media’s weakness re the police, ok?

    Perhaps you could start exploring how many other kids in republican areas not related to Shinners went to the cops only to be told to become informers, eh?

    Not interested in that line, eh Mick?



    Patrick J. Finucane (1949 – 1989) 88 Castle Street

    Peter J. Madden Ciarán Shiels Belfast, BT1 1HE

    Andrew Russell Michael Madden Telephone: 028 9023 8007

    Terry Cunningham Jack Quigley Fax: 028 9043 9276

    Fearghal Shiels Paul Mc Cann DX Box No: 434 NR


    18 January 2010

    Media Statement on behalf of the victim of abuse by person named “X” by the Sunday Tribune:

    “I feel very let down by the decision of the Sunday Tribune to publish my interview with Suzanne Breen on 17th January 2009. At no time did I give permission for any details of the sexual abuse I suffered as a child to be published. The editor of the Sunday Tribune gave me an assurance through my solicitors that I would not be identified as someone who has made allegations to the police regarding sexual abuse.

    Due to the publication of the Sunday Tribune article I have been easily identified within my local community as being the victim of sexual abuse. I have suffered immense hurt, upset and distress as a result of the publication, and I feel that I have been manipulated by the newspaper. My legal protections of anonymity under the criminal law and my right to private life under the European Convention on Human Rights have been flagrantly breached. Neither my local community nor my family were aware that I was a victim of sexual abuse before the publication of the Sunday Tribune article.

    My primary concerns are for the well being of my children and immediate family and that justice against my abuser is able to take its course without any interference”.

    C/o Michael Madden

    Madden & Finucane Solicitors

    02890 238007


  • Brian Walker

    I’m gratified and surprised that the conspiracy theorists about who controls the media are so few and mild (please don’t all start up now!) They are of course quite wrong but will never be persuaded. UlsterWatcher, there’s no need to act if you’ve produced a big rabbit out of a hat. Nobody would commend the police’s record either but at least I offer the obvious explanation, not excuse.

  • UlsterWatcher


    Hmm…he must be too busy working on a story about the police attepting to recruit a sexually abused child as an infomer…either that or a story about the media failing to look into the police exploiting a sexually abused child for their own ends…


  • UlsterWatcher

    Was I attacking you, Brian? I thought your reference to the Climbe case was timely and relevant.

    So, are you Mick’s spokesman now?

    But regarding your point about Adams’ ‘gobsmacking effrontery’ in blaming the police…well, in telling a sexually abused child to alert the police was Adams not doing EXACTLY THE RIGHT THING?

    Did you lot not attack the SF/IRA for policing their own areas during the troubles. And yet, here we have Adams openly admitting he cooperated with the police back then (doing the right thing in other words) and you’re attacking him for that too!

    Wise up.

    Brian, who’s primarily responsible for dealing with allegations of abuse? The police, yes?

    They were informed. They didn’t follow it up.

    Maybe you and Mick could spend some time following that story up.

  • UlsterWatcher

    Makes you wonder, though, just how many children in republican areas went to the cops complaining of abuse and were put in the ‘informer’ position.

  • John Joe

    Thanks Ardoyne Republican. The Bel Tele is now running the story on its website as well.–sinn-fein-councillor-still-went-to-meetings-14640400.html

  • granni trixie

    Mick:I would not expect those in the universities to be any more knowledgable about the law and rationale for confidentially in sex abuse cases (having form in generally not being releveant).
    Org. in NI who do specialise in training voluntary/community groups on the principles/practice of child protection
    may help. (note:’safeguarding’ is the current buzz word). Anyone out there from, say, NICVA who can help?

    I would take issue with your apparent acceptance of the statement, “child abuse has nothing to do with politics and the troubles” as,yes, one would like to think it gets ‘above’ the troubles and in a sense unites people. Child abuse is relevent to politics and the troubles however as control was maintained during the troubles by paramilitaries, benefited poltiical parties who wanted to maintain an image of ideological soldiers. Silence maintained also a system of punishment (beatings/exiling etc)of mainly young juveniles as well as other forms of child abuse.

    Then there is the fact that non jury trials were introduced in response to intimidation of witnesses.So all in all, it is clear that what is coming out now are grievances related to corruption and silence connected to politics and the troubles.

    BTW,Amanfrom Mars:you are v. well named.

  • UlsterWatcher

    All gone quiet here, it seems.

    Has anyone approached the police station where Aine Tyrell went to make her complaint – and where she claims the police tried to recruit her as an informer?

    Mick, have you contacted that station? Have you blogged on what efforts the Irish news, Suzanne Breen et al have made to follow up the police’s actions at the time?

    Has anyone asked Mr Dineen – the youth centre manager – on what he means exactly about there being no record of Adams’ warnings about his brother? Does that mean there is no record now? Does that mean that verbal warnings are not retained? Are employees’ records dumped after the end of their employment, say, 5 years later? Records may not exist now – but did they at some point?

    If it is true that the police attempted to recruit Gerry Adams’ niece – an alleged victim of sexual abuse – as an informer, how many other alleged victims of sexual abuse did they put in the same position?

    Come on, Mick, you could blog for months on that topic. Not ninterested?

  • alf

    he must be having lunch, maybe with Breen ?

  • Ulick

    Did I imagine it or was there a blog here a few minutes ago with a letter from Madden and Finucane complaining about the Sunday Tribune? I only ask as I had to step outside and hadn’t finished reading it.

  • Ulick

    Opps sorry I see Ardoyne Republican has posted it. I could have sworn Brian did a blog on it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Calm down lads, it’s back up. I had to take if off line to deal with a very nasty troll and had connection problems when it came time to put back up.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mr Walker,
    its hardly a conspiracy theory about controlling the Media to point out that MI5 actually had an office in BBC HQ in London where personnel were vetted.
    It would seem remiss if the “Christmas Tree” stamp (I know it sounds weird) of approval was not on the file of every BBC journo working in Belfast.
    It would be extremely remiss of MI5 not to have an office in Ormeau Avenue at a time of great national emergency. It would be even more remiss of the Seurity Services not to talent-spot journos who might be friendly thru political conviction, money, blackmail whatever.
    I would personally find it extraordinary if the BBC (ITN also) newsroom did not have one or two spooks and wannabe spooks around.
    So is it not at least conceivable that friendly journos are thrown a few tidbids of info to follow up.
    After all.its highly unlikely that journos dont have the same politics (made up of our own individual mix of high ideal and low self interest) as the rest of us.
    That “print” journalists obviously reflect the politics of their proprietors is a given.
    Less obvious is the role the BBC in particular plays……..investigative or supportive of the “national interest” whether Norn Iron, Falklands/Malvinas, Iraq, Afghanistan.

    Surely thats a debate that all committed journos see as a very real one. Surely its not a mere conspiracy theory.

  • paul kielty


    Your posts are spot-on!

    Are we now witnessing a cosy COVER-UP involving the sunday tribune and slugger o’toole, regarding the alleged shocking treatment of an alleged victim of child abuse by the RUC?
    I think that suzanne and mick have questions to answer on this serious issue of public concern. The silence has been deafening. Do they fear speaking out against the RUC?
    I use the word alleged above because I do not want to prejudice in any way the chances of justice being served in this case. Unlike numerous posters on slander o’toole whom, after getting a whiff of GA blood, jumped headlong into a quite disgraceful bout of nasty mud-slinging with no regard for either the victim nor the rule of law!


    Your banging your head against a brick wall.
    Every discerning viewer accepts that journalists who work for the BBC are all politically veted to ensure they fit into the political ethos of ‘auntie’. There is no brain science here, its just that those same journalists are the only ones incapable of seeing it!

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mr Kielty,
    Thank you.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I am intrigued by the headline that

    “Any softpedallng on Adams unlikely to be politically motivated”

    This indicates a high degree of Ethics.
    But it begs the question

    Is any “hardpedalling on Adams unlkiely to be politically motivated”?

  • Ulick

    Ah here Mick are you not going to explain what’s going on? After probably around 50 blogs on ‘SF child abuse cover-ups’, we have one
    questioning the behaviour of the newspaper behind the allegations and you shut it down without explanation. ‘Softpedallng on Adams’ my hole. Softpedallng on your media and political pals more like it.

    My response to the previous thread for the little it’s worth (in confidence there is nothing to legally compromise

    I couldn’t have identified the victim, but perhaps others more closely connected might explain what were the revealing phrases in the articles.

    ‘Ardoyne’, ‘daughter of a legendary Belfast IRA commander’, ‘her father was in prison and her mother had died from cancer two years earlier’

    It was pretty obvious to me and I’m not from Belfast who the alleged victim is. I would also strongly suspect that the Tribune wanted us to know who she is as the strength of the two stories (from the ST point of view) lies in closely associating the victims with senior republican figures i.e. ‘this is how they’ve treated their own’.

    However if you take out the three phrases mentioned above all you are left with is another shocking story of child abuse and the obvious question then is why did the RUC, Social Services, PSNI not act to protect this child or act on the later allegations?

    Sadly it seems that X has become a causality to journalistic arrogance.

  • Kevsterino

    It appears a thread has been locked from comment regarding obligations to conceal the identity of sexual abuse victims. It is a shame.

    Mick, I hope you have found some advice you trust to help get through this.

    What a mess!

  • alf

    its more than likely just a case of there not being enough mods to police the comments ! :0

  • FitzjamesHorse

    alf, Kevsterino,
    I hope you are both right.
    Journalists cant pick and choose which sources are to be protected and which arent.
    Is a Journalist only obliged to protect the source if that source is a law breaker who might cause the journalist and his/her family injury.

    Is a journalist not obliged to protect a “victim” and then argue public interest in defence.

    Seems an odd sort of principle and possibly causing a little discomfort to NUJ members

  • alf

    id would say so much time and effort was put into this one and the end outcome was not going the way it was supposed to (what with the robbo crisis), so this story without the protection for the victim was used to drum up more front page headlines

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    IF the authorities allowed the abuse to continue without arresting the ones doing the abuse…THEN we have to ask —why? Were the inept? Or was it to recruite the victims…seems they tried Or was it to recruite some bigger fish? How many others in Gerry’s family believed that a brother was sexually abusing his daughter? Did any of them go to the police…? If so…was there an attempt to recruite them? To keep the abuse quite…was someone blackmailed? There are many questions to ask especially since there was a bug in the sinn fein office years back….there was a bug placed in the car that took gerry and martin mcguiness to the IRA while they were negotiating for weapons to be put beyond use….there was the spy within sinn fein’s circle–denis donaldson who headed up sinn fein’s American interest and was the man in charge at storemenet when it was raided….Did any leader in sinn fein know about all this…and did any leader help facilate this? There are huge implications because there is a spy trail that leads to the leadership.

  • John Joe

    Sunday Tribune, 17th January
    “…yesterday she withdrew her consent at the eleventh hour and sought, through the Belfast solicitors’ firm Madden and Finucane, to have no details published whatsoever. Today we honour her request for anonymity, but we publish the horrifying details of what she says happened to her as a child…”

    Victim’s statement issued last night.
    “At no time did I give permission for any details of the sexual abuse I suffered as a child to be published.”

    Sunday Tribune statement today (quoted from the main thread).
    “Although consent was freely given by the victim, the Sunday Tribune respected her decision to withdraw consent for her identity to be revealed and ran the story without identifying her.”

  • tacapall

    IF the authorities allowed the abuse to continue without arresting the ones doing the abuse…THEN we have to ask—-why?
    Posted by Kathy C on Jan 19, 2010 @ 03:53 PM

    Northern Ireland: Hearts and Minds?

    A second is that, while individuals may have rights, society has overarching interests which necessarily trump those rights for the sake of some greater good.some take the view that whenever the chips are really down it is enough, then, to be humane to others, but it is unnecessary to respect their rights.

    The British (then) were investing in the future i.e.

    “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” they never acted on it simply because it could be used as a bargaining tool, just like it is right now !

  • paul kielty

    The propaganda wing of the SDLP/catholic church hierarchy, the Irish news cannot be accused of soft-peddling following their recent outbursts. Is their motivation, the public interest, or is it a crude attempt to deflect the puble eye from mass child abuse( MANY VERIFIED IN COURTS OF LAW) visited on the children of this island and further afield.
    Then again, it might be as basic as the up-coming british GE. Who knows?

  • Mick Fealty


    If you look at the last piece I did on this story, you’ll notice this:

    “But there’s one other appalling thing about these stories: the questions it raises about the state’s part in all of this. Where were the cops? And where were social services? Some of the details of these stories are as bad anything relating to the Baby P case in Haringey.

    “The impression given is that large parts of Republican Belfast were abandoned by the state’s services to be run in accordance with the wishes of local paramilitary godfathers.

    “And whatever the political consequences of these stories emerging, these issues cannot go forward without a proper and thorough external investigation on how social services handles such cases…”

    There is NO doubt in my mind the cops have a case to answer. And the social services.

    They have statutory responsibilities in this area, and in my view any such investigation should not be localised, but should be root and branch, right to the top.

    If people are found seriously wanting then, heads should roll. But that kind of accountability requires more aggressive demands for openness, not more appeals not to look in the awkward bits people may find politically embarrassing.

    The case in question will be worked through by lawyers, the law, and finally, possibly the courts.

    They should be allowed to get on with it. In the end we are left now with three rape victims, who need their cases processed and listened. Something that was clearly not the case until they took the extraordinary step of approaching the media with a problem they could find no other way. That’s the disgrace here.

    As Brian Feeney most eloquently put it in the Irish News today: this is not going to go away.

  • paul kielty

    Mick Fealty,

    Well said!
    Finally, sanity is starting to prevail.

    Just a couple of points.
    Firstly, GA is not the PSNI. When the police were approached by the alleged victims within the last couple of years, it was up to the police to pursue these cases no one else. It was the PSNI which drove the victims into the clutches of the media not SF. What could they do? Demand confessions?

    Secondly mick,
    ‘They should be allowed to get on with it'(the judicial process). Absolutely right! Although one cannot set fires in the outback, and then complain about the ensuing firestorm.

  • UlsterWatcher

    Mick, I’ll ask you again, in the Aine Tyrell case for example who had the bigger duty of care – Gerry Adams or the police?


    It has been alleged that the police tried to recruit an alleged abuse victim as an informer – and yet you think Gerry Adams (who instructed the girl to go to the police) seems to be the main culprit here.

    So, Mick, you are telling us that a man untrained in the counselling of abuse victims has more to explain than a police service that allegedly tried to exploit a child’s abusive situation for political reasons?

    Is that right, Mick?

  • UlsterWatcher

    Nope, no answers yet.

  • tacapall

    Well said Mick ! If the truth is not forthcoming from one of the perpetrators of the cover up, then focus on those that cannot hide behind doubletalk, those whose job it is to investigate rape and abuse, and those whose job it is to make sure people, who are accused of it, do not attain jobs or positions that bring them into contact with other children and indeed the victim.

  • tacapall

    Totally agree, there is more than one way to get to the truth and it must be found. Accusations made here and elsewhere are horrifying. If there are or have been sadists roaming the streets with no one to prevent them, that must be answered.

  • Peter Fyfe

    Ardoyne Republican

    I disagree with you politically quite a lot of the time. However, after reading your blog I can’t help but feel sympathy with your family at this time. Reading the Tribune article made me feel sick and no human being should be subjected to such abuse. It is sad that such glaring references to your father were made in the piece, I even thought of him when seeing, ‘Ardoyne’ and ‘legendary Belfast commander’ and I am from nowhere near Ardoyne. I imagine those in your own community did not have any doubts on who it was talking about. This must be very hard on your wider family and I hope you all struggle on through it. One positive outcome may be the abuser’s eventual prosecution due to the publication of this information. When social services and the RUC had information of this abuse from the late 80’s, why has it not been acted upon? Have they ever gave your sister a reason?

  • Ardoyne Republican

    The British security and police forces have serious questions to answer, and in time it will be produced, there are court cases outstanding and these will be open and all evidence heard.

    If there were child abusers in S/F it is misleading to imply that involves the whole of S/F.

    In order to grow into a fully fledged political party, as opposed to a protest/activist group, Sinn Fein need to be able to deal with any criminals in their midst in the same way any other party would, suspend, await the result of investigations or charges and sack or reinstate as necessary.

    I hope the full truth of those terrible times will come out and all victims will receive the justice they deserve.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    Hi tacapall, thank you for the link regarding the british military paper of the ‘hearts and mind’ strategy.

    The british misplayed their hand. IF they wanted to blackmail the likes of gerry adams to keep his family secret, to blackmail the person who raped Joe Cahill’s grand niece and to blackmail the person who so twisted abused the 10 year old…then they might have succeeded. HOWEVER, IF the british forces had come out with this information regarding the adams family, joe Cahill’s niece and the person abusing the 10 year old….then the british would have been able to spin it to they were the good guys and the republicans twisted sex perverts who abuse children. The british didn’t do that…they were aware…so their hands are not clean. A shame that the british and some in the republican leadership did not value the children of the north the same as Bobby Sands did….a real shame.