Eamonn Dunphy: “It is better if listeners know what your views are”

I have to say I cannot see what’s wrong in principle with Eamonn Dunphy declaring which candidate he was going to vote for whilst continuing his role as a journalist during a tense election campaign. He may have run foul of the strict broadcasting rules, but as he notes himself:

Dunphy said as a “general principle” he believed it was right that broadcasters should not publicly declare their support for an election candidate in or out of the studio, but he said he wanted to be upfront about his support for Mr McGuinness. He had done so because he felt Mr McGuinness was getting a rough time in the “Southern media”.

“Declaring it, as I did, was the lesser of the sins, the other one would be to keep it hidden,” he said. “In the end I decided that the broadcast would be fair and there would be no hidden agenda and that it would be incumbent on me to be fair to every guest on the programme which I endeavour to do.

“It is better if listeners know what your views are. It is absolutely vital to give fair and equal treatment.”

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  • damon

    I agree with Dunphy. It would be difficult listening to him on this if he was unable to give his own opinions on it.
    It’s not like he’s just a newsreader, he’s doing serious political interviews about some very contentious issues.
    I don’t agree with him on McGuinness, but I value his analysis.

  • Cynic2

    When Lynda Bryans husband ran for election didnt UTV take her off air immediately?

    Not because of her own political beliefs …. just because she was married to a politician and should therefore not be reading the news as it might suggest bias

    Dunphy has openly declared allegiance. He shouldn’t be on the air until the election is over

  • between the bridges

    dumpty wants’ his cake and eat it, he portrays himself as more honest than others by declaring his support, and presumably if (as it appears he is)he then uses his position to promote his preferred candidate (‘likely to be in breach of the broadcasting code’) he can then claim ‘sure I was honest and i told you from the start’.

  • keano10

    Whether or not Dunphy should remain or air during the campaign, I think his support for McGuinness is a newsworthy story in its own right. Dunphy had a reputation for being one of the most vitriolic and outspoken opponents for many, many years. The type of columnist that The Sindo loved to covet and promote.

    It perhaps says something for McGuinness and indeed his party, that they are now attracting votes from the type of prominent circles which would have seemed unthinkable, even a decade ago. Even more so, in the case of Dunphy.

  • Mac

    “Dunphy has openly declared allegiance. He shouldn’t be on the air until the election is over”

    ‘DJs’ as lightweight as Ray Darcy were openly ‘threatening’ to leave the country a few years back if Enda replace ‘our Bertie’.

  • “Dunphy has openly declared allegiance. He shouldn’t be on the air until the election is over”

    Nonsense, he has been honest and declared his position and people can make their judgement on that. If you start down that road you’ll have to look at the allegiance over every broadcaster whether declared or not. For example George Hook has made no secret of his Blueshirt tendencies which he repeated during his interview with Mitchell last night – but was still able to make it challenging precisely because he was coming at him from a different angle. Then there is Tubs connections with Fianna Fáil, Sam Symth and the PDs etc… Would you pull them all off the air?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Cynic

    ‘Dunphy has openly declared allegiance.’

    He has said which way he’s going to vote. Isn’t it a little strong to call that an ‘allegiance?’

    In the last election in which I voted, I voted for the Ulster Unionist candidate. I can assure you, the UUP certainly does not have my ‘allegiance.’

    George Hook, Dunphy’s Newstalk colleague, has always been upfront about his FG allegiance – in this case, ‘allegiance’ is the correct word – but there has never been an issue about that. And frankly, I don’t think there ought to be.

    The Linda Bryans point is clearly a different kettle of fish. If Dunphy’s wife were a candidate in the election, he’d have to take a sabbatical. But having an opinion on a candidate is a far cry from being married to one.

    Would Dunphy’s backing be an issue if he had backed someone other than McGuinness?

  • Neil

    Then there is Tubs connections with Fianna Fáil, Sam Symth and the PDs etc… Would you pull them all off the air?

    No Ulick, because they support the whiter than white good dacent politicians in the South. It’s only a problem if you support a Shinner.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Ulick

    Snap!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    And Neil!

    Snap!

  • Perhaps this might be relevant:

    Where the interest declared is a personal one it is noted and the councillor can take a full role in the consideration of the item. An interest is deemed to be personal if it is one that might reasonably be regarded as having a greater effect on the councillor or an associate than the effect on other citizens of the authority.

    Where the interest declared is a prejudicial one they can take no part in the decision making process and must leave the meeting during consideration of the item involved. An interest is deemed to be prejudicial if the interest is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice the member’s judgement of the public interest.

    It seems to me that Dunphy’s position will be viewed as prejudicial rather than personal, not least by McGuinness’ opponents.

  • Mark

    Eamo has always been honest … too honest in fact . It got him in trouble after he went on a one man mission after Jack Charlton during Italia 90 .

    When you get into bed with Dunphy , he goes the whole hog . he’s as loyal as your first dog . Don’t be surprised if Dunphy gets the nod to write ” the book ” . Sure to be another New York Times best seller’s list .

  • Mick Fealty

    btb,

    That’s not a fair or reasonable comment on how Dunphy handled that interview. In his own reasoning he tried to be fair, even though he’d made a rod for his own back by declaring his thoughts feelings etc about the McGuinness candidacy.

    Pat Kenny is currently in confession mode. I heard him declare yesterday that he’d been a member of the Legion of Mary (which made sense of his interview of an American Biblical scholars’ revelations a week or so back around some commonplace historical facts which seemed like it was breaking news to Pat).

    HInterland is a good thing in journalists as much as Politicians. Fair play to him for putting his head above the parapet! Dunphy created a different dynamic in that interview which was all the more refreshing for its shift away from the obsessions of the media crowd.

    Oh, and boys, when you’ve finished the party political mope fest, can we get back to the point?

  • Mark

    It’s also refreshing for a journalist to be so honest . Journalists in general IMHO have a tarnished record after the phone hackings scandal . I’ve evern heard posters here talk about the lack of backbone in the journos ” up there ” as opposed to ” down here ” .

    In the past the terms the North / Six counties as against Ulster / The Province and more recently the Belfast agreement vs the Good Friday could determine …….etc etc.

    It was noticeable that Mary Davies used both Belfast and Good Friday in the same breath last week in Belfast ….. and that Belfast seems to be all the rage on places where it wasn’t before .

  • Mark

    typo ..and apologies to Mrs Davis .

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, as I recall Mark, Davis organised the 2003 Special Olympics. You know, the one where Larne hosted the Iraqi team.

  • babyface finlayson

    Mark
    I know it is irrelevant but now that you mention it, I have always wondered, as a political innocent, why one side signed the Belfast Agreement and the other side signed the Good Friday Agreement. Can you enlighten me?
    I am sure it will be a sensible, and in no way petty explanation.

  • Alias

    Dunphy’s logic seems to be that if the broadcasting code isn’t sufficiently robust to prevent what you interpret as bias from other journalists toward your preferred candidate then you should appoint yourself as a sort of media regulator and redresse the perceived imbalance by endorsing your preferred candidate via your jouranalism.

    Presumably, once a journalist of the standing of Mr Dunphy has taken it upon himself to do so, all becomes well again in the “southern media.”

    Coincidentally, adopting a contrarian’s viewpoint is Mr Dunphy’s longstanding USP…

  • “I cannot see what’s wrong in principle”

    Would it not be a bit like having a Dublin referee in charge of a Tyrone-Dublin GAA match in Croke Park? He might do a grand job but he wouldn’t be given the role.

  • Why is it wrong? Possibly

    1 Because it’s against the rules as they stand at present

    2 Because Dunphy agrees in principle with the rules, but doesn’t play by the rules which presumably are for others

    3 Because celebrity endorsement is part and parcel of ELECTIONEERING and Dunphy whose terms and conditions include impartiality in politics and current affairs particularly in times of ELECTIONS has chosen to set that aside and wear another hat that of celebrity supporter, and in so doing his aim is to promote the product and lend credibility. He becomes a player.

    4 Because what’s to stop all the other RTE commentators, interviewers, journalists becoming players if this breach is allowed.

    [Sorry about the caps, can’t do italicisation.]

  • between the bridges

    mick, fair and reasonable? The words ‘presumably’, ‘if’ and ‘appears’ in my comment give my opinion some leeway…

    ‘Dunphy said as a “general principle” he believed it was right that broadcasters should not publicly declare their support for an election candidate in or out of the studio, but he said he wanted to be upfront about his support for Mr McGuinness. He had done so because he felt Mr McGuinness was getting a rough time in the “Southern media”.
    “Declaring it, as I did, was the lesser of the sins, the other one would be to keep it hidden,” he said. “In the end I decided that the broadcast would be fair and there would be no hidden agenda and that it would be incumbent on me to be fair to every guest on the programme which I endeavour to do.’

    ‘General principle’ = cake….. ‘Declaring it, as I did,’= eating said cake….

  • Mark

    ” I’m sure it will be a sensible , and in no way petty explanation ”

    Unlike yours of course Babyface finlayson ….

    ” as a political innocent / journalist ” …. I’ll try and give it a go . According to legend the good guys call it the ” Good Friday Agreement ” cos it’s good and it was signed on a Good Friday and the tradition with Republicans and Easter etc … and the bad guys refer to it as the ” Belfast Agreement “cos the good guys called it ” Good Friday ” .

  • Mark

    People like Dunphy in the south and people will listen to him . When he says that he’s voting and supporting McGuinness because of the unfair coverage he was recieving , people will believe him and won’t care about brodcasting bans etc .

  • Incidentally there’s a good programme on radio 4 at the moment, Mondays at 8.00pm called In defence of Politics, parts 1 and 2 0f 3 are still available. Here’s the blurb

    QUOTE Prof Matthew Flinders asks if politicians are unfairly treated by a negative and crisis-obsessed media, cynical satirists and drama that ignores the good in politics.

    Interviewees include Tony Blair, Boris Johnson, John Bercow, Ian Hislop, Hazel Blears, Alastair Campbell and David Baddiel.

    Matthew Flinders is Professor of Politics at Sheffield University. This is the second part of a series in which he presents his personal viewpoint, challenging political cynicism and defending the role of politics in our society. END QUOTE

    Last night had the guido fawkes blogger saying it was a successfull year if a political career had been destroyed.
    .

  • Ive never cared for Dunphy.
    But I think he is right on this particular occasion.
    In declaring that he is voting for Martin McGuinness…….I dont see how that is any different from a journalist stating or implying that he is NOT voting for Martin McGuinness.
    And I think the reaction of the Dublin Media to McGuinness has facilitated Dunphy to make a public declaration which might ordinarily be viewed as inappropriate.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    In fairness to Dunphy, it’s not as though he called a press conference, or appeared with McGuinness on the campaign trail, or even used his own show to make a statement. In fact, he merely appeared as a guest on the Damien Kiberd show, and debated Fintan O’Toole on whether McGuinness’s candidacy is even appropriate. Kiberd asked him straight out, whether he would vote for McGuinness, and Dunphy said yes. So he was asked a question and he answered it. That’s hardly an ‘endorsement,’ in the political sense.

    Interestingly, in the same show, Fintan O’Toole made clear that he would NOT consider voting for Mr McGuinness. Indeed, in his view, McGuinness’s very presence on the ballot is inappropriate.

    Does this mean that Mr O’Toole’s impartiality has now been so punctured that he should remove himself from his job as deputy editor of arguably Ireland’s most influential newspaper?

    Is there only a problem with expressing a positive view on a candidate, as opposed to a negative one?

  • Alias

    “People like Dunphy in the south and people will listen to him . When he says that he’s voting and supporting McGuinness because of the unfair coverage he was recieving , people will believe him and won’t care about brodcasting bans etc .” – Mark

    Which is exactly why journalists should not give the type of endorsement given by Mr Dunphy. Effectively, it is manipulating the public sentimental sympathy for what they see as the underdog and leading them to make electoral decisions based on those irrational sentiments rather than on the issues or questions about fitness for office.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Can’t stand either McGuinness or Dunphy but I can’t see what the fuss is about. If he hadn’t said anything it’s probably how I’d have guessed he was voting. I was interested in the bit about how he was a big anti-apartheid campaigner in the early 80s. Anyone else here remember that?

  • damon

    If Dunphy was taken off the air for the duration of the campaign, all that would happen is that a very good radio programme would be lost.
    When debating McGuinness running for president, it would be hard to be in conversation with someone like Fintan O’Toole and not have one’s own view of the matter come out. Or it would be a less interesting discussion anyway.
    It’s understandable that people will be partisan one way or the other.

  • Mark

    Alias , the media has made this into a no holds barred election .

  • Alias

    Not at all, Mark. The national broadcaster RTE is still in peace-processing mode and as circumscribed in its coverage of the PIRA godfathers as it ever was. Some journalists, an absolute minority, are doing a good job and asking some semi-difficult questions. But I doubt any of them will send a camera crew to interview the Hegarty family…

    Celebrity endorsements should be confined to the practice of persuading the public to buy branded consumer products, not elect presidents. When journalists do this then they lose their impartiality by default.

    As Dunphy said, his own endorsement is based on irrational sentiments (sympathy). I see no reason why the public should be encouraged to share his irrationality.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Why do you state that sympathy is an ‘irrational’ sentiment? Sympathy can be a perfectly rational sentiment, and indeed motivation.

  • Barnshee

    Provo supporter supports McGuinness and this requires further comment?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Barnshee

    You’re showing your ignorance there. Clearly you never read much of Dunphy’s work in the early 90s?

    Ironically, in one of his most infamous columns, he once declared that if a united Ireland ever came about, he would join the UVF. This was in the time of Greysteel, Loughinisland, and Billy Wright’s campaign of terror. He also wrote that northern nationalists – that is, ALL northern nationalists – were ‘morally diseased.’

  • Henry94

    Newstalk Breakfast news program is ably presented by former Fine Gael Minister Ivan Yates.

    George Hook in the evening makes no secret of his FG leanings. I have never heard an adverse word about either of them. I’m happier when leanings are out in the open.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Dunphy’s did endorse the provos last time out, but politically he’s been all over the place. Former Haughey cheerleader, former FG member. So far as I know only his hatred of Labour has been consistent. I missed the UVF remark but it doesn’t surprise me.

  • Banjaxed

    Alias
    ‘Which is exactly why journalists should not give the type of endorsement given by Mr Dunphy’.

    I didn’t hear the same spouting of outrage when Fintan O’Toole and the other (mostly Indo) journo naysayers were dissing McG’s very right to stand in the election.

    Are you saying that it is therefore quite all right for a journo to ‘non’-endorse a candidate, which is, in effect, what most have been doing to date, in relation to MMG.

    The logic of your argument, it seems to me, is that it is fine for a journo, who shows the type of bias with which you agree, to attack a candidate, of whom you clearly disapprove, but not at all if another chooses to admit that he’ll vote for him, showing a bias which you don’t like.

  • sortofneutral

    Henry 94:
    “I’m happier when leanings are out in the open.”

    So am I.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Indeed.

    Interestingly, Dunphy’s ‘endorsement’ of Martin McGuinness in 2011 seems to be vastly more controversial than was his ‘endorsement’ of the UVF circa 1992.

  • Alias

    Billy, of course it is irrational. It is not rational to believe that McGuinness is better qualified to be president than any of the other seven candidates because of what you perceive to be media bias against him.

    That’s like arguing that Gary Glitter is best qualified to be head of the girl guides because The Sun is dead against it…

  • Alias

    “Are you saying that it is therefore quite all right for a journo to ‘non’-endorse a candidate, which is, in effect, what most have been doing to date, in relation to MMG.”

    It’s true in converse, I guess, that if a fan of a celebrity journalist will tend to like what he likes then he’ll also tend to dislike what he dislikes, so you might have a semi-valid point about subliminal influence there, but I doubt we’ll see Persil paying large sums of money to celebrities to ‘non-endorse’ a competing washing product.

    However, there is still a massive difference between ensorsing a particular candidate and saying that you wouldn’t endorse that candidate under any circumstances.

    To say that David Norris is not fit to hold the office based on his support for pederasty or that McGuinness is not fit to hold the office based on his support for murder gangs is a valid criticism of either man for a journalist to make. That is not in any way and endorsement of any of the other candidates.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Alias,

    It doesn’t endorse any other candidates but it can effectively leave your non mentioned preferred option a clearer advantage if he hasn’t been attacked by any journalist like O’Toole has attacked McGuinness.

    Dunphy could have simply not mentioned his support for McGuinness and used his media position to attack McGuinness’s primary rivals, thus helping his preferred candidate, (McGuinness) without publicly stating it.

  • babyface finlayson

    Mark

    ” I’m sure it will be a sensible , and in no way petty explanation ”

    Unlike yours of course Babyface finlayson ….

    ” as a political innocent / journalist ” …

    What’s with the ‘journalist’ remark?
    I didn’t mean your explanation would be petty, I meant the reason for using the different names would be.
    Anyway I suspected the Unionists were reluctant to attach the word ‘good’ to the word ‘agreement’
    On the topic, I think it is fine for Dunphy to express his preference.
    Would he have been less likely to show bias if he had kept it to himself? I doubt it..

  • galloglaigh

    Anyone watching the presidential debate on TV3? How unprofessional is Vincent Brown. It’s a Marty bash!

    Martin McGuinness is the best candidate on that panel.

  • galloglaigh

    … and used his media position to attack McGuinness’s primary rivals, thus helping his preferred candidate

    Vincent Brown’s doing the opposite (“,)

  • Alias

    “It doesn’t endorse any other candidates but it can effectively leave your non mentioned preferred option a clearer advantage if he hasn’t been attacked by any journalist like O’Toole has attacked McGuinness.”

    How so? Unless the other candidates had the same flaws for which McGuinness was criticised, you wouldn’t expect a journalist to criticise them for those flaws and so you couldn’t claim bias if he didn’t.

    “Dunphy could have simply not mentioned his support for McGuinness and used his media position to attack McGuinness’s primary rivals, thus helping his preferred candidate, (McGuinness) without publicly stating it.”

    Yup, but stating what he could have done doesn’t address what he actually did. Also, Dunphy wouldn’t have received this level of publicity if he did the former so that rules it out (cynical).

    There is nothing in the letter of broadcasting law that specifically prohibits a political journalist from endorsing a candidate in an election but it is hard to see how a political journalist can endorse a candidate without falling foul – at least in spirit – of the requirement to be impartial. With the best journalists, you can never tell which way they are likely to vote. That is because they strive to be impartial, and so keep their own agenda out of it.

    I don’t think we can discount the value of a celebrity endorsement even if broadcasting law doesn’t cater for it. The other problem for Dunphy is that his impartiality will be questioned simply because he has stated his voting intention so that will make it much more difficult for him while presenting an unnecessary distraction for the listener.

    There is more than enough farce in this election already wiothout Dunphy adding to it…

  • wee buns

    Norris just ‘outed’ Vincent Browne as a supporter (he signed the petition that he would be reintroduced as candidate) so maybe there’s a practical sanity (strange term to apply to Dunphy) in declaring your position before someone else exploits it.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Alias,

    But even if Martin McGuinness wasn’t in the race, a said journalist could try to help his/her preferred candidate by attacking any other leading candidate about something in their past and sensationalize it. You seem to think that’s perfectly alright – as long as the public don’t know about the journalist’s real motives.

    Relying on the prefessional integrity of individual journalists in these types of elections is a naive way to form your own opinion. Which is why Dunphy’s statement of where he personally stands makes it refreshing. Any bias he spews against other candidates now becomes redundant.

    Indeed knowing where he stands makes it even more important for his professional career that he be seen to be fair and just in his appraisal and dealings with the other candidates. Whereas the likes of O’Toole etc.. have an agenda we can smell but not see.

  • sortofneutral

    Republic of Connaught:
    “…Whereas the likes of O’Toole etc.. have an agenda we can smell but not see…”

    Sometimes I get the powerful odour of West Brit

    Oops! (red card or deletion of comment coming up)

  • Alias

    “You seem to think that’s perfectly alright – as long as the public don’t know about the journalist’s real motives.”

    I don’t think it is acceptable at all. But the public is capable of differentiating between an opinion piece where, by definition, the opinion of the journalist is offered and other forms of journalism where impartiality is crucial. It’s where they overlap that the public has the problem.

    “Relying on the prefessional integrity of individual journalists in these types of elections is a naive way to form your own opinion.”

    I think it’s more a case of the public replying on regulations that are designed to prohibit such bias. It is a criminal offence for a broadcaster to express his own view when reporting on current affairs.

    “Which is why Dunphy’s statement of where he personally stands makes it refreshing. Any bias he spews against other candidates now becomes redundant.”

    Any bias he expressed would still be a clear violation of the letter of his legal obligations under Part 3, 39 (1)(a) & (b) of the Broadcating Act 2009 and would still have legal consequences. Also, his endorsement violates the spirit (if not the letter) of Part 3, 39 (2). By endorsing a political party, he is giving an “unfair preference” to that political party.

    “Indeed knowing where he stands makes it even more important for his professional career that he be seen to be fair and just in his appraisal and dealings with the other candidates.”

    Yeah… a bit like Catholic priests are now afraid to go anywhere near kids.

    “Whereas the likes of O’Toole etc.. have an agenda we can smell but not see.”

    I don’t think that’s fair for most of the bloggers. But even if it was, this is a website where opinions are offered. It is not bound by the same regulations that bind Mr Dunphy. Apples and oranges. Some unionists call it a republican site and some republicans call it a unionist site. I’ve been banned three times in the last few months so I think its fairly impartial in regard to how it enforces its rules. All shades of opinion are tolerated, and all shades are banned!

  • Mick Fealty

    Dunphy’s openness may well be part of his contrarian make up, and it may also be a breach of the Broadcasting rules, but in principle there is nothing wrong with saying, “I’ve declared who I will vote for”.

    As others have pointed out, it was hardly part of an orchestrated campaign (which would be worrying), it was a straight answer to a straight question.

    However, neither is it wise to extrapolate backwards in order to assert that anyone who does not do what Eamonn’s done is necessarily a suspect (West Brit). We’ve seen evidence of some pretty nasty (and more to the point, hidden) attempts to threaten or condition the media by politicos in recent days.

    Journalistic openness certainly affords the rest of us a prism through which to view his handling of the subsequent interview. But more importantly it takes the journalist out of a privileged black box from which s/he can sometimes feel immune from the reverberative effects of the barbs s/he throws at other public figures.

    In the end, a declared bias is considerably less corrosive than the dangerous assumption that journalism is in and of itself an impartial and objective craft, and therefore above criticism.

    I don’t mind bias in the least, so long as the quality of the analysis is good and the bias transparent. The things that annoy me on Slugger are not views I disagree with (that would have driven me nuts years ago), but rather poorly articulated or unthought through pieces which focus on taking down the man rather than playing the ball. Almost everything else I can tolerate with sublime equanimity.

    To finish, here’s a snippet from Milton’s Areopagitica:

    “I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.”

    Oh and thanks for that last BTW Alias.

  • I watched the the Vincent Browne presidential debate last night. The idea was that it would be self refereed unless Vincent felt he had to interpose which he did on occasion as people overtalked or avoided a direct question. Much of the content of the show say 20% was lost to adversarial noise and cross talking.There were two stage managed major interventions , one before the only break when McGuinness was accused of lying by Browne and one just before the end when Norris was accused of making up the legal advice not to publish the remaining letters. In between there were several minor interventions as each of the other candidates was buttonholed.

    Having got his trophies for his wall Vincent would then offer backhanded compensation along the lines of “Mary , unlike Martin you haven’t got years of Ministerial experience at the top level, what can you bring to the table?” (not a verbatim quote).

    No doubt about it Vincent was the star of the show and the McGuiness and Norris stunts pure theatre but are we any wiser or better informed about their policies. Very little I’m afraid it was just a Punch and Judy show

    I’ve also now listened to the Dunphy presidential debate with Mitchell and McGuiness, its simply two against one. Labelling Mitchell’s comments about McGuiness a “diatribe” was just one example of Dunphy’s “fair and equal treatment”. Another Punch and Judy man.

  • At the risk of playing the man, it would be funny but revealing, if someone with some technical wizadry put together a sound and video compilation of McGuiness proclaiming his working relationships with Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson. It would be up there with “Basil’s wee mate” from the last local election.

  • Republic of Connaught

    “I don’t think that’s fair for most of the bloggers. But even if it was, this is a website where opinions are offered. It is not bound by the same regulations that bind Mr Dunphy.”

    I was referring to journalists with agendas in the national print and television media, not anyone on this website. Slugger to me is a like a fine wine to be tasted infrequently. Too much of the wee six county politics and the boorish Irishman tends to come out in most people, myself included.

  • To finish, here’s a snippet from Milton’s Areopagitica:

    “I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.”

    “The man who thinks he can do without the world is indeed mistaken; but the man who thinks the world cannot do without him is mistaken even more”. -Francois, duc de La Rochefoucauld,