#Aras11: How the Press got it wrong on Gallagher (and failed to admit it)

Whilst it was perfectly legitimate to probe Martin McGuinness on his paramilitary past in the course of a Presidential election the key reason (character) for doing so was rarely crystalised by the many good journalists who did so.

To be blunt, you cannot make political murder a reason for not taking office in state that was founded on killing and rebellion, no matter how many columns of outrage get printed in the Sunday Independent.

You can make lying about it an issue though.

There are many good reasons why Martin McGuinness cannot give full disclosure about the past. He, like any other ex combatant, has no immunity from prosecution by the British or Irish states.

That does not explain the plain untruth that he left the IRA in 1974. It’s simply not true. It now appears that Mr McGuinness’s ‘story’ about Sean Gallagher picking up a cheque for Fianna Fail was not true either.

Gallagher’s struggle to recollect the incident arose from the fact that there was no cheque to be collected. Payment for his picture with the then Taoiseach had already been cashed by Mr Morgan. There wasn’t even a brown envelope.

Sinn Fein had successfully employed the indignant weight of RTE’s moral outrage to kill a front runner. Machiavelli would have approved.

Now what happens in the midst of live TV programme is one thing, but three days later there are politically informed people in Dublin saying the press should have been on this story weeks ago.

Rather than correct their mistake, the ingenue candidate has had to spend the last few days explaining (and therefore losing) that he was stitched up by Sinn Fein and the national broadcaster.

In the meantime the main beneficiary is likely to be the main government candidate, and a party whose penchant for not being quite straight with the truth makes Fianna Fail look like innocent paragons of virtue.
The real problem is a press that seems determined to fight last years political wars .

Sinn Fein is not dangerous because it retrospectively wants to legitimise its armed struggle in Northern Ireland or that it seeks power, both north and south (rather they can be lauded for taking their ambitions more seriously than many of their Republican critics).

It is problematic because its politicians haVe too often proven unreliable witnesses in the press. A press that may need reminding that Fianna Fail are in opposition and nursing nearly €2 million of a deficit, whilst Fine Gael are €4 million in the black.

Sean Gallaghers a big boy, he can look after himself, the real problem may be that we have conformist/confirmist press which is long on collective hysteria and short on independent judgement.

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  • HeinzGuderian

    An excellent piece Mick.
    I agree with every word !!

  • Blissett

    ‘Gallagher’s struggle to recollect the incident arose from the fact that there was no cheque to be collected. Payment for his picture with the then Taoiseach had already been cashed by Mr Morgan. There wasn’t even a brown envelope.’

    I beg your pardon? Are you just taking Gallagher’s word over that of Morgan?
    I mean, perhaps you feel he is more trustworthy, but, still and all, to state, pretty conclusively that he didnt receive a cheque, when Morgan states that he did, is a bit much Mick.

  • Drumlins Rock

    It was a dirty underhand stunt pulled by SF and Mr Morgan, maybe respectable Armagh supporters should think twice before advertising so freely for him.

  • John Ó Néill

    Why no links, Mick? The straw Gallagher has been clinging to is that the sequence of events given by McGuinness differs in minor details to the statement given by Morgan. The issue of whether Gallagher sought 5k donations for a private audience with Cowen at an FF function doesn’t seem to be in doubt. Gallagher has concentrated on pointing up the differences in the two accounts rather than admitting whether he organised the function and canvassed for the donations etc as described by Morgan. He has form in that regard. This is the same way he dealt with the issue of his membership of FF originally – he kept making statements about when he had joined and left the National Executive (which turned out to be wrong anyway), rather than address the question of when he left FF itself (I don’t think he has actually resigned from the party).

    A useful link would be to Vincent Browne’s show on Tuesday night – Fionnan Sheehan gave the backstory to this – the press had the Morgan story last week and had given Gallagher time to respond before running it (which he chose not to do). Browne also made more serious allegations about Gallagher’s businesses.

    Far from being the conformist/confirmist dupes you have suggested, the press were very light touch on Gallagher for the duration of the campaign. I have made the point elsewhere that its not even that I think this is an issue relative to treatment of McGuinness, but rather, of all the candidates, Norris should probably feel most hard done-by since Gallagher was presented as an independent candidate just as he (Norris) hit white water over those letters. If you follow the arc of the FF story – at the time of the Late Late show Gallagher related his youth work for FF meme alongside reference to working on a couple of election campaigns but nothing else (RTE, it appears, don’t do any research). It took almost the whole campaign for the profile of a FF insider to take shape.

    Gallagher’s last statement about political assassination demands a blog of its own as a reflection on the campaign.

    I’m not sure if anyone has pointed this out yet – but the date that FF claim they lodged the cheque – 28th June 2008 – is interesting. The 28th June was a Saturday and banks in the south don’t open on Saturdays.

  • Mick Fealty

    Nope. John I’m on an iPhone. There are links I would like put in there, but it’s impractical with the bandwidth I have where I am.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ‘Gallagher’s struggle to recollect the incident arose from the fact that there was no cheque to be collected. Payment for his picture with the then Taoiseach had already been cashed by Mr Morgan. There wasn’t even a brown envelope.’

    If the cheque had already been cashed. Therefore there was no cheque in a brown envelope. Hello ?

  • Alias

    “To be blunt, you cannot make political murder a reason for not taking office in state that was founded on killing and rebellion, no matter how many columns of outrage get printed in the Sunday Independent.”

    That is an absurd claim. Firstly, there is a universally accepted difference in international law between violence that asserts a right to self-determination in the absence of alternative means and violence which has no such legitimacy. Violence doesn’t become legitimate just because it is political. If that were not so, it would be acceptable to murder black people because you disagree with a state’s immigration policy.

    The Irish nation already has a right to self-determination and it’s own sovereign state; and as there is only one right to self-determination per nation, PIRA’s murder campaign could not have had the purpose of asserting a right to self-determination. In addition, there was no absence of alternative means. There is no valid comparsion between PIRA and the IRA.

    Spouting dangerous nonsense like that also legitimises the murder of Ronan Kerr and gives bogus legitimacy to active murder gangs like CIRA and RIRA, and also undermines the opposition of the Irish state to such gangs.

    “There are many good reasons why Martin McGuinness cannot give full disclosure about the past. He, like any other ex combatant, has no immunity from prosecution by the British or Irish states.”

    The British state hasn’t prosecuted him to date despite having its agents working alongside him, many of them appointed directly by McGuinness himself. Indeed, it actively intervenes to suppress prosecution in order to protect him.

    I agree with the comments about Sean Gallagher and the disgraceful involvement of the national broadcaster in the set-up – which extended to Pat Kenny using a fake Twitter account to throw Gallagher off balance and make him appear shifty as he tried to figure out what on earth it was that he should remember.

    The failure of the rest of the media cry foul on this has been another unmitigated disgrace.

  • “To be blunt, you cannot make political murder a reason for not taking office in state that was founded on killing and rebellion, no matter how many columns of outrage get printed in the Sunday Independent. ”

    A great many votes cast today will exclude any preference for Martin McGuiness which means that those individuals have chosen not to forget his past even if political pundits and strategists look at the global numbers and focus on the aggregates. Lying or more properly hypocrisy is an additional charge on the sheet not the core issue.

  • skibeagle

    you haven’t been following this closely enough Mick.

    Gallagher’s bluster about not picking up the cheque when he dropped off the photo tries to shift the focus away from him and make out the sequence of events as decribed by McGuinness were lies as opposed to been true but in the wrong order

    What we know are lies from Sean Gallagher :

    He only rang 2/3 friends – then admitted to ringing Hugh Morgan whom he didn’t know
    He couldn’t recall driving to Hugh Morgan’s house – then he did
    He couldn’t recall giving a photo to Hugh Morgan – then he did
    He “sought no money” from anyone – then he mentioned people could donate upto €5,000 ( just below legal limit to disclose donations )

    if you watch the video from the frontline debate closely you will see Gallagher couldn’t answer the McGuinness question with a straight answer and tried to rephrase the question to suit his excuse.

  • John Ó Néill

    Mick – know the feeling – I’ve done it via Android before. Nuclear physics would be easier.

  • “The British state hasn’t prosecuted him to date”

    Alias, hence my use of the term ‘immunity certificate’ for paramilitaries favoured by London and Dublin. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this HET investigation.

  • john

    Lets be honest not one of the candidates is worthy of a vote. The campaign has been a soap opera with the press picking a new target each week. Higgins approach of keeping his head down and staying out of sight (literally) seems to have worked.

  • jthree

    Surely you’re aware of this p.ie thread?


    But here’s the short version

    Seán Gallagher, Morning Ireland, October 20th, 2011:

    Gallagher: People that I met, I explained that there was this event coming up. I have to make it very clear, I sought no money, I received no money from anybody

    Seán Gallagher, 6.01 News, October 25th, 2011:

    Gallagher: “This was a fundraising event. And I informed anybody that I rang, that there was a level up to which they could nominate or donate, that they would make that payable to Fianna Fáil headquarters. I’m quite happy that this happened…”

    So in the space of five days he decides that, yes, on mature reflection he was a FF bagman who rang people up to bone them for an aul donation

  • “Sinn Fein had successfully employed the indignant weight of RTE’s moral outrage to kill a front runner.”

    Apparently Martin blamed it on a ‘misunderstanding’:

    However, Mr McGuinness yesterday said there was a “misunderstanding” as to when the cheque was given.

    “Due to a misunderstanding during the conversation I was under the impression the cheque was delivered after the event but it’s only overnight I have learned the cheque was delivered four days before the event took place,” he said. .. Irish Times Oct 26

  • jthree

    “The real problem is a press that seems determined to fight last years political wars.”

    The Greeks, through their truculence and bad behaviour, have just managed to get the banks to write-off about a third of their sovereign debt.

    Meanwhile due to the near-criminal incompetence of FF a 700m unguaranteed Anglo bond will be repaid on 2 November.

    So I’ll give the press a bye-ball if that still want to come at a FF proxy.

  • Blissett

    I really must say I am surprised at this article, and a bit disappointed. The media and McGuinness got the timescale wrong, but Gallagher was clearly caught out and caught cleanly. The wheels came off in the 6.1 news, had stated earlier in the day that he had not collected a cheque, and was faced with morgans statement saying he had collected a cheque. Martins essential claim, that Gallagher was lying about the level of involvement in high levels within FF was shown to be correct. He really has no one to blame but himself.

  • edgeoftheunion

    “Mr Attlee would not have survived five minutes”


    Is the voracity rather than the veracity of the media which is the real problem?

  • michael-mcivor

    We all need a press- just a pity that there are reporters with agendas- not 1 reporter got a new story about Martin in this election- but Martin got facts which he used against Gallagher- will it make any difference to the out-come- we will soon find that out-

  • ‘Tommy O’Brien’ set out slick Seanies close links with FF,(http://is.gd/FRrH7r) what M McG said or did not say is not important here, indeed it is designed to muddy the waters in favor of Slick.

    Now if O’Brien is wrong and Mr TV was not a member of the FF elite, you remember the guys who were in bed with the property developers and bankers who got the South were it is today, then fine, spill it, but arguing over a cheque is not what this should be about.

    By the way Mick F, are you sure M McG, like any other ex combatant, has no immunity from prosecution by the British or Irish states, or is that just a guess?

  • redhugh78

    Mick, seriously, come off it.
    I think your hatred of SF has clearly clouded your judgement here.

    It’s obvious Gallagher, as Mc Guinness says was/is ‘..up to his neck in Fianna Fail’ and was part of the cronyism and gombeenism that wrecked the South’s economy.

    The whole ‘chequegate’ aside, that alone and the fact that he was trying to portray himself as Mr ‘independent’ and having so cunningly being exposed to the electorate is reason enough for people not to vote for him.

    Now wether they do or not still remains to be seen.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Let’s get our terminology straight here if we can. Just because Mr McG was/is an ex-Provisional does not necessarily make him adhere to the definition of a combatant. The vast majority of the members of that organization cannot claim ever to have been combatants, not it they’re telling the truth they can’t.

    I’ve not seen the stats but very very few of the deaths during the recent conflict – at the hands of any of the armed groups/forces – came as the result of what could reasonably or rationally be described as combat and an even smaller number of their operations were planned with any possibility of actual combat in mind; to the contrary, they were almost all conceived of in specific circumstances in which combat would be avoided and the probability of any actual combat would be as close to zero as possible. You can call shooting a man asleep in his bed – whatever his day-job or organizational affiliation – whatever you like but you may not refer to it as an act of combat or the trigger-pullers as combatants. C’est simple.

  • Red Hugh

    I’m with you here, the MSM must have know about Gallagher’s close links with the FF elite. Myself I doubt if any of this would have come out without Mr Morgan’s nudge to McG.

    I have been told he only finally jumped ship from FF at the beginning of this year. Which to my mind makes him a doubly outright opportunist. The real question is who are has major backers in this campaign. Maybe we will find out when the paper work gets published.

    What is pretty obvious is once again the MSM have let their readers and the 26 county state down down. By the way, how is telling the truth about slicks links with FF slinging mud, most would see it as setting out the truth.

    As the great Jim Royal would have said about Mr TV, independent my arse.

  • “they were almost all conceived of in specific circumstances in which combat would be avoided and the probability of any actual combat would be as close to zero as possible.”


    You have just described perfectly how the NATO forces in their war in Libya conducted themselves.

  • Its pretty clear that the substance (if not the detail) of the Morgan/cheque/cash/Gallagher/FF/access/Cowen/photograph story is true.
    But its not nearly as important than the way Gallagher does business.

    Describing the Media as conformist and confirmist is as sweeping as me describing them as “Dublin 4” liberals supportive of Higgins and/or Norris who allowed their antipathy to Martin McGuinness to get the better of their judgement or impartiality.
    But the balance of probability remains that tomorrow the same folks will be celebrating a Higgins victory and not acknowledging the role that the despised McGuinness played in the victory.
    Gotta see the funny side.

  • Nunoftheabove


    It would appear that you wish to make a point not in any sense relating to my comment or to the thread. That point may or may not have any value – I might have my suspicions as to which end of the value continuum it’s more likely to be in proximity to, frankly – but if you absolutely must digress, do at least try to be clear and observe some form of vague pertinence to the matters in hand if you can, there’s a good lad.

  • CommentOnStats

    As per other contributions here, in my view this is just an example of rough politics. As well as Mr McGuinness I recall that David Norris and Mary Davis(“Quango Queen”) have been given a rough ride at times.

    Mr Gallagher has been accused of nothing unusual or improper in the ordinary political sense. Collecting cheques and organising fundraising events is standard political practice. Some people are even willing to pay a not insignificant sum to have their photograph taken with a well known politician. If there exist people have so much money on them to do this then I wouldn’t blame any political party for taking advantage of it.

    The issue arises because Mr Gallagher ran a campaign based on how independent he was. However from viewing inteviews with Mr Gallagher available on Youtube, it does not appear to be in contention that Mr Gallagher may well have met the businessman concerned and that a political donation may have been suggested. If you run an independent, ousider from the establishment style campaign, and become the front runner in the polls you may expect that your rivals may start to dig around for some mud to throw at you.

    So maybe Mr Gallagher could have been a little better prepared for this than he seemed to be.

    BTW It appears the bookies have it for Michael D.

  • ” there’s a good lad.”


    Yes master, oh wise one from across the water. How silly of me not to recognise the deceit of Slick Seanie is totally irrelevant when Mr Fealty gives people like you a peg to hang your hatred of the IRA, for their sin of trying to right the decades of injustice the nationalist people of the six counties experienced since the mockney northern statelets creation.

    Compared with your right to stamp your feet and express your prejudices, having a shyster like Slick in Áras an Uachtaráin is small beer.

  • galloglaigh


    The HET deals with bereaved families on a strictly confidential basis. It does not discuss the content or progress of reviews with anyone except the family concerned

    So where did the Hearld.ie get their evidence?

    From the article:

    McGuinness… was seen with a sub machine gun that day

    Where has this statement come from? The Saville inquiry could not say with 100% commitment that McGuinness had a sub-machine gun. He ‘probably’ had one.

    If you look at the deaths during that period in Derry (from 1969-27th January 1972), the British army killed eight civilians; the IRA killed nine British army and one RUC officer. The British army killed one IRA volunteer.

    I wonder will the HET look into the actions of the RUC and British army? Somehow I doubt it. If you’re looking for who was given immunity (or impunity), look no further than the British Crown Forces in Ireland over the last forty years.

  • JR

    I think you are way off the mark with this one Mick. Sean Gallaher has been trying to mislead the electorate about his business dealings and his close links with the former FF government. He was caught out. The presidency is a roll for someone of unquestionable integrity. Sean Gallaher has been shown not to be that person.

  • Nunoftheabove


    Across…..which water ?

    “when Mr Fealty gives people like you a peg to hang your hatred of the IRA,”

    It’s up to Mr Fealty to respond to your crummy peg provision ‘point’. As for the accusation that I hate the IRA, I shall respond to any such accusation that I hate/hated the IRA on the condition that there is some evidence produced which tangibly sustains that argument. Without it, such comments can, once again, be dismissed as yet more playground name-calling pish.

    For the meantime, you’ve noticeably not repudiated my comment on the use of the word combatant. I’ll take that as a fairly loud if tremendously grudging concession that that’s true no matter much you’d prefer it not to be. So thanks 😉

    Delighted also that you’ve the frankness to admit that you’d rather have what you describe as a shyster in the Aras than to afford ordinary citizens the right to freedom of expression; a refreshingly candid reminder of the purity of your Stalinist credentials, comrade. So thanks 😉

  • Mick Fealty

    There was no cheque. RTE picked up a line of spin and ran with it. That’s the problem. End of.

    Sean Gallagher is entitled to as rough a ride as our most enquiring minds can conjure up.

    But no one should be shoved into a trap that’s made of nothing more than social animus and wish fulfilment.

    mick Hall,

    You show me the legislative clause that says Martin has immunity? Acquiescence is another matter. Official British silence is yet another.

  • Granni Trixie

    I will finish where I started when the race began:if the best the Irish people can do is chose someone with so much to answer for it will be to their shame.

    Signs are however that morality will win through in the end.

  • bacach

    I thought that there was no dispute about there being a cheque. The dispute is whether or not it was posted to FF party headquarters or picked up by Sean Gallagher. What you believe depends on who you think is more credible, Hugh Morgan or Sean Gallagher.

  • JR


    Hugh Morgan produced a cheque stub for a cheque for €5,000 made out to FF. Writen and lodged just before the dinner to which he was invited to by Sean Gallagher. You could argue that maybe Hugh morgan is Lying and that Sean Gallagher did not collect the cheque but there was a cheque. Sean Gallagher saw fit to invite Hugh Morgan to the dinner, saw fit to call to his house with a photo afterwards and then called him a convicted criminal and fuel smuggler on national TV.

  • Into the west

    Gallager’s been scalped by SF and the media-

    that’s what happens you give a bald man a haircut !

  • Rebel_Alliance_

    “you cannot make political murder a reason for not taking office in state that was founded on killing and rebellion”
    … unlike those respectable, polite killers and rebels in the USA, French Republic, English Protectorate, South Africa, Latin America, Africa… wait, wait… The Penguins. The Penguins in Antartica never killed anyone.

  • “Acquiescence is another matter.”

    I first stumbled on the ‘not ruffling paramilitary feathers’ strategy back in the 1990s. A police officer told a businessman friend of mine that the police could observe wrong-doing by certain individuals but they couldn’t intervene without political clearance. The strategy is still in place.

  • Jimmy Sands

    I’ve no doubt that Gallagher has been stitched up a treat by Coco but the way he walked into the propellor indicates a man out of his depth. There’s nothing wrong with a FF activist fundraising for his party, but Gallagher’s problem is that he has run on the basis that he is an apolitical captain of industry when the truth is he seems to make his money by leveraging his FF contacts and that now that these have dried up he needs a job.

    Coco’s story claim to have deserted in 74 was a story concocted for the sole purpose of allowing him to testify before Saville. Not participating was simply not an option. It was never meant to be taken seriously.

  • Brian Boru

    I think you’re right.

    Ivan and Chris from Newstalk uploaded a podcast of thbeir final thoughts on the outcome of the election and Ivan thinks that the media and bookies may be out of touch with public opinion because of a “Dublin 4” mentality which has wanted Michael D all along.

    It wasnt broadcast today because of the moratorium so you can listen to it here.

  • John Ó Néill

    Mick, you should have checked out Fionnan Sheehan’s detailing of the background to this story. Also, has anyone yet explained how FF lodged a cheque on a Saturday? Even if it was through an ATM lodgement it wouldn’t be lodged until the next working day.

  • Brian Boru

    The 2007 election shows that political ethics alone doesn’t lose you an election. Gallagher is not being accused of pocketing the money. Everyone accepts it ended up in FF’s party pockets. Bertie on the other hand and Haughey did pocket donations for personal use. So the “Bagman” jibe is just ridiculous. It is also offensive as the term originates in protection-rackets, which SF is an expert on….

  • Mick Fealty

    Good to have you back BB! That’s all very possible. A decent bet.

    As I said above Gallaghers a big boy but one with a hell of a lot to learn about politics. He’s learned that FF is not toxic in the country even if it is in D4. He should not have tried to slam away from his party associations.

    But the real concern here is not the Machiavellian politics, but the ease with which the whole press corps was tipped in the wrong direction by a third party witness who three days later only communicates through his lawyer.

  • Mick Fealty


    Fionnan’s a great guy, but what does he say that adds falsifying substance to argument beyond “we all hate FF don’t we?” I hear Vincent declared for Michael D.

  • “How the Press got it wrong on Gallagher”

    Ivan on Newstalk, if I understood him correctly, seems to be suggesting that the Dublin 4 MSM wanted Michael D to win so, presumably, any damage done to Sean might have been perceived to be of benefit to Michael D. ‘Misunderstanding’ Martin didn’t appear to have been very well versed in the Gallagher-Morgan story, perhaps a useful tool in a different game. Will the full story all come out in the wash? Probably not.

  • Across…..which water ?


    You disappoint me now.

  • redhugh78

    Three days later Mick?
    He issued his statement to the press less than 24 hrs after the allegation was put to him on National tv.

  • Brian Boru

    Varadkar already muttering darkly about impeachment…

  • Jimmy Sands

    PP now have MDH at 1/6

  • Brian Boru

    Yes Jimmy and they had No to Lisbon on 5-1 in 2008! They even paid out on the yes vote and then had to pay out to the no side like me. I won €160 from that. Do they never learn?

  • “But the real concern here is not the Machiavellian politics, but the ease with which the whole press corps was tipped in the wrong direction by a third party witness who three days later only communicates through his lawyer.”

    Mick F
    You know the Irish media well, but is that what really happened, or did Morgan simply give them a hook, surly they must have known about Gallagher’s recent history in FF and that his independent tag if not a sham, was opportunism to say the very least.

    On the McG immunity, I was not having a pop, just wondering whether you new any more than the rest of us on this. In truth if the British government had cut such a deal, official or of the nod and a wink variety, I cannot see them making it public as it would not be in their best interest, nor McG.

    Although I doubt we have heard the last of this.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Of course they’re not infallible, but when a candidate’s price is halved while voting is actually underway it’s a pretty strong indication. In fact they now appear to have closed the book.

    Incidentally they also appear to have cut the Labour price in the by-election.

  • michael-mcivor

    ” there was no sex- sorry no cheque” end of-
    starting to sound like Bill Clinton-

    next we will be told that Gallagher collected a empty envelope-

  • “Next we will be told that Gallagher collected a empty envelope.”

    Would that not have been an oxymoron for a FF politician 😉

  • Brian Boru

    Turnout From RTE:

    Munster 50%+ by end of day – down from 70% in general election but higher than last presidential election

    Leinster excluding Dublin 30-35% longford Laois-Offaly 20-25%.

    Workers “Amazed” so few young voters in Leinster excl. dublin.

    Galway brisker than anticipated
    mayo 25-30%
    skigo donegal 24-28%
    overall CU 45-50%

    Dublin 22% 5 pm (not 100% sure on this)
    south county 24%
    dub city 26%
    dub west ongar 11.5%

  • John Ó Néill

    Mick, he admits that Gallagher had a week to mull this over before it broke and he still couldn’t a line straight that he thought the public would swallow.

    The Gallagher camp (hmmmm) crying poor mouth over the press is kind of rich at this stage. Did he expect a carte blanche until it was over?

  • Nunoftheabove


    – “You disappoint me now”.

    Another entirely empty contribution though so, again, the utter transparency of the vacuity of your positions on most issues is to be welcomed. Thanks again 😉

    You have, quite plainly, no idea where I live and/or where I come from which makes the parochial projecting you’re apt to do even more preposterous than it already appears to reasonable people anyway. But sure why argue when you appear to feel that infantile sloganeering, simple-minded innuendo and juvenline name-calling will suffice, huh ? It’s obviously the only platform upon which you’re likely ever to feel comfortable within, right ?

    Pathos-heavy little buddy, pathos-heavy.

  • Brian Boru

    The reasons for the paranoia in the Dublin 4 media towards the only candidate that can beat Higgins is the overlap between the political-Left and themselves. I recommend reading “The Lost Revolution” which explains how the Workers Party infiltrated RTE for example. The former WP leadership is now the Labour leadership. Examples of this overlap between the political and journalistic Left include Charlie Bird (former WP), Rodney Rice (WP), former leftwinger and WP figure Eoghan Harris (not now oif course), Alex White (LP), and formerly Orla Guerin (LP), (Irish Times), and on and on and on.

    The stranglehold of the Left on the irish commentariat is almost total in the broadcast media, with Marc Coleman being the only exception with a regular slot (on Newstalk). The constant demonisation of the PDs from Day 1 of their existence (e.g. called ‘Thatcherite/rightwing and sometimes even fascist’ by the media) is an example not merely of a tendency, but of a Stalinist intolerance and delegitimisation of the right of Centrists and Conservatives to compete with the Left for political office.

    That is in marked contrast to the ideological diversity of the UK, US, French, German etc. media, and is part of the explanation for why the Irish media exhibitis a herd-mentality in electoral politics that is unheard of elsewhere. There is no homegrown Irish equivalent of the Daily Telegraph or the Mail. Tha byzantine processes of leadership-manipulated selective-conventions, dynastic succesion, and party-funding regulations that former PD leader Des O’Malley said makes forming a party in Ireland harder than in Iraq, all help to explain why the Irish media and its readership are often on disametrically-opposed sides of arguments like Europe, party-preference etc.

  • John Ó Néill

    BB – that would be remotely convincing if you listed those with FG connections (e.g. Vincent Brown, George Lee who blew his own cover, Ivan Yates etc) or FF connections (take your pick in RTE).

  • Jimmy Sands

    There is no homegrown Irish equivalent of the Daily Telegraph or the Mail.

    Or the Sun for that matter. Are you suggesting that’s a bad thing?

  • Brian Boru

    Yes I think so. The media should reflect the diversity of public opinion. For it to be otherwise endangers the freedom of speech upon which as democratic society is built. Democracy is the bsttlefield of ideas. But if some mainstream ideas are suppressed while being held by a broad mass of the Irish people, then we are not a democracy and are in fact a kind of oligarchy.

  • Jimmy Sands

    What’s being suppressed? If you want an Irish Daily Mail start it. O’Milllionaire already tried and nobody wanted it.

  • Brian Boru

    The suppression isn’t from above. It takes the form of denunciation of anyone who strays too far from the Left-Liberal Establishment line. The immigration issue (though not relevant tio any of the candidates it serves to make the ideological bias point) is a classic example. No sooner does a Southern politician open their mouth in favour ofd tighter controls than the are denounced in the Irish Times by some figure like Fintan O’Toole or VIncent Browne (the latter called the Citizensnip referendum “racist” even after 80% voted for it). There is something grossly undemocratic about a media Establishment that so disregards the express will of the people in this way. Other examples include how Nice and Lisbon were foisted on the people and the media closed ranks to squeeze any oxygen of publicity from the “no” campaign. This would be impossible in the UK but Establishment-conformism is ruthlessly enforced by denunciation and buttressed by a fear of denunciation that enforces the consensus.

    Step outside that consensus and the media will tear you apart. I don’t think they will succeed this time however.

  • Brian Boru

    RTE figures just now on projected turnout:

    RTE turnout predictions:

    city 8pm 35
    final 45-50
    clontarf 49
    south inner city 23

    leinster exluding dub 50-55
    portlaoise tullamore mullingar 40%

    munster 50-55

    Connaught-Ulster 45-50
    galway city 50 so far
    county 45
    mayo 45+
    sligo 40-43
    donegal 41-44
    islands 45

  • Jimmy Sands

    No sooner does a Southern politician open their mouth in favour ofd tighter controls than the are denounced in the Irish Times by some figure like Fintan O’Toole or VIncent Browne

    And they should not be permitted to do this?

  • Brian Boru

    There should be space in the media for the majority viewpoint in polls on immigration which fsavours tighter control.

  • Mick Fealty

    Keep the figures coming BB!

    Returning to the subject in hand, ie the media and it’s handling of what turns out to be a non story. Reporting a fake twitter account could happen to anyone. It happened to me last week.

    But its discovery as a fake ought to have flashed a big fat red light. Red light number two was the fact that the accusation came from a competitor in the race. The third red light was that it came from a candidate whom most senior editors and journos at RTE know has been less than honest re his IRA past.

    Yet they pushed on with a story that simply wasn’t true with a number of flashing red lights on it warning them it was highly questionable.

    This is what Nick Davies calls Flat Earth News:

    “The whole story of modern media failure is complicated and subtle. It involves all kinds of manipulation, occasional conspiracy, lying, cheating, stupidity, cupidity, gullibility, a collapse of skill and a new wave of deliberate propaganda. But the story begins with journalists who tell you the Earth is flat because they genuinely think it might be. The scale of it is frightening.”

    And this story is a classic case of modern media failure. Like the millennium it leaves no trace it ever existed in its passing.

    I await with interest to see if it does in fact have a tangible effect on Gallagher (part of me thinks it has to), or whether he retains his lead despite the damage in the media. For some of the reasons outlined by BB the disjunction between reader and paper can be profound.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “There should be space in the media for the majority viewpoint in polls on immigration which favours tighter control.

    I firmly believe in free speech and accept that this must apply even to racists, but you were complaining about Fintan O’Toole’s response. I don’t understand what you’re advocating. Should the state fund a racist newspaper? Should non-racist newspapers be obliged to publish racist material? What exactly is it that you want?

  • Jimmy Sands


    I think this is perilously close to a “false consciousness” argument. I agree with you that Gallagher fundraising for FF is a non story, but the public clearly thinks otherwise and no-one wants to be left behind the story.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m not concerned with public consciousness. I happily admit that I don’t know what the public thinks on the matter. My only concern is with the journalistic handling of the story and the hysteria it fed into and off.

    From a political point of view if SF have holed SG below the water line fair does to them. Alls fair in love and politics. The appropriate analogue for journalists is surely caveat emptor?

  • Alias

    A major part of the ‘crime’ was the opportunity. A live debate so soon before a moratorium kicked in (and the election itself) presented an ideal opportunity for dirty tricks to be played that circumvent the normal scrutiny due diligence that would apply to such a ‘revelation.’

    Normally that wouldn’t be an issue because of a sense of fair play but the Shinners were involved here so low standards were bound to enter into it. In future debates, allowances will have to be made for the participation of street thugs sans decency, so the live TV interviews in any format should be restricted to a week or so before an election.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Mind you the moratorium strikes me as a fairly pointless exercise.

    Mick, is this not simply a textbook case of bias towards sensationalism?

  • Dixie Elliott


    Is collecting fundraising checks for political parties any worse than holding fundraising dinners in memory of the Hunger Strikers or the US support group of a certain political party selling hunger strike plates with the images of the Ten Hunger Strikers on them to raise funds?


  • Brian Boru

    I don’t have all the figures but I do recall RTE saying that the turn out in Leinster excluding Dublin will probably reach 60%. Looks like there has been a last minute surge in parts of Dublin. One poster on politics.ie says that DL is close to GE levels of turnout. I think CU may have reached 50%. We have no idea where in Munster the strong turnouts were relative to town and city. Shortly after my last post someone said on politics.ie that the turnout in Carrickmacross was 40%. Connaught-Ulster is a real conundrum because it is seen as a stronghold of McGuinness, Higgins (at least Galway) and Gallagher as a Cavan man. Dun Laoghaire is Eamon Gilmore’s constituency and a stronghold of what I call Champagne-Socialism. Middle and upper-class Dubliners are historically very fickle witht their votes and highly susceptible to the mantras handed down from the Madame Editor and her successor.

    On balance I think what will decide it will be the relative strengths of the rural versus the urban vote. Gallagher’;s vote is seen as largely rural, including the hardcore rump FF support gravitating to him because of his FF past. We just don’t know enough about Munster in particular. Constituencies to watch according to analysts on RTE include Cork South Central, the Dublin commuter belt, and counties in Leinster with traditionally strong Labour votes like Waterford and Wexford. If Gallagher competes strongly there it is a good sign for his camp. But the 3-way battle for Connaught-Ulster which is very rural (except Louth) but bitterly contested and with a strong Republican base will be especially telling. If Gallagher can establish big leads in places like Donegal I think that is a good sign but it reminds me of the 1995 Divorce and 2002 Abortion referendums in that it will mostly come down to urban-rural divide. Before Monday, Gallagher has a strong base of support among young people. Labour seem to believe they are coming back to them but then again, many couldn’t vote because it was Thuraday and they weren’t goinfg to drive 100 miles to vote. So it’s all up in the air because RTE etc. were too lazy to conduct an exit-poll. Meh…

  • The media should reflect the diversity of public opinion.


    Surly you are not suggesting the UK media represents the general spread of public opinion. In the USA it is even worse.

    Whole sections of society have absolutely no input to the media let alone a vehicle which represents their interest. And interest is what you are really on about.

  • Rory Carr

    Exit poll from Boards.ie showing:
    Michael D 42.36
    McGuinness 15.92
    Norris 17.46
    Gallagher. 11.42

    My bet at 13/2 on first preference doubles : Higgins/McGuinness would seem blown (it was made following the roasting of Gallagher on The Plank’s show, but I completely overlooked Norris despite his quite winning display of wit on the night.)

    Never mind, I am many quids ahead in my account with Paddy Power this year thanks to picking the winner’s of the Aintree National and The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and a correct prediction of the winner and final score of the European Barca-Man U final.

    But I am still in this race anyway at least for a while.

  • Mick Fealty


    In some ways the particular bias of given newspapers is a red herring. Bias is only one very small part of the problem. It’s the willingness of generalist journos to take a solid punt on something they only have highly partial knowledge of thats the problem here.

  • I dont think the urban-rural split will be as important as different turnouts in constituencies which are seen as safely in one camp.
    For example a large turnout in Donegal might help Gallagher more than Higgins.
    A low turnout in urban Dublin wont help Higgins.

    (Incidently I am a big fan of the Moratorium. It is one of those civilising and respectful conventions which “instant” media does not respect.
    Likewise, I would happily do away with exit polls).

  • aquifer

    This looked like a political assassination. Gallagher has a plausible explanation for what he did while a FF member, and if the media are not trying to clarify this to the public they may as well have hidden a smoking gun after wiping the prints.

  • Mick Fealty

    Rory any idea of the provenance of those figures? If they are remotely true RTE will have some serious questions to answer.

  • Brian Boru

    Rory online polls are notorioisly unreliable because you can vote multiple times buy logging in under a different IP address, underage persons can vote, and you can vote from another country.

  • “Alls fair in love and politics.”

    Love cheats and love rats come to mind so there is a definite connection!

    The TV panel sessions owed more to Japanese game shows than to good journalism with each of the male candidates hoping to avoid a blow to the crutch.

  • Brian Boru

    IrishCentral.com have the following “preliminary” exit-poll. If true I’d say Higgins will get in on transfers but you just don’t know:

    Sean Gallagher 32

    Michael D. HIggins 27

    Martin McGuinness 20

    Gay Mitchell 11

    David Norris 6

    Dana 2

    Mary Davis 2


  • Jimmy Sands

    They seem to have copied that poll from a politics.ie thread. No source given.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Just heard that Marty sent the Bogside Artists down to paint the Aras…

    It’s foregone conclusion he told supporters who were fundraising outside Marco Pierre White’s Restaurant in Dublin.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yeah, we just don’t know! Night all. Verification of the referendum votes will hold up the beginning of the main event tomorrow. It’s been a fascinating ride.

  • Brian Boru

    Confusion on politics.ie over this poll. Someone from Red C has said there is a Red C exit poll but he cant say any more about it. Curiously, he says he was working from 2 to 10pm yesterday and will work for an hour in the morning! Suggests to me they haven’t finished it yet.

    Someone has cited a clasimed Tipperary North exit poll with Gallagher on 35%, MDH on 21%, McGuinness on 9% and Dana on 7%,

  • Mick Fealty

    Martina Anderson seems to have been under the impression RTE was releasing an exit poll.

  • Jimmy Sands

    So that’s official then. No RTE exit poll.

  • Brian Boru

    Astral Peaks on politics.ie says he thinks the poll was carried out by some folks in Tennessee for a radio station. Hmmmm if true it’s useless and bears a suspicious similarity to Ray Darcy’s text poll….


  • padraigpearse

    ‘Political murder’?……you mean like the NATO organised gang bang and stiffing of Colonel Ghadaffi? Is their a Britiah PM in historywho did not arrange or give the nod to a ‘problem’ (especially in Ireland} getting bumped off?

    I can stomache the expediency better than the self serving hypocritical cant..Especially from the Unionist fellow travellers.

  • aquifer

    And how is Robert Mugabe the great liberator these days?

  • HeinzGuderian

    That’s it Paddy,share the love ? 🙂

  • Rory Carr

    Nice little exit poll from a Phil Maker over on Politics.ie:

    Gallagher €5,000
    Higgins 4’8”
    McGuinness 500lb
    Norris 14 year old
    Dana $10
    Davis 20 Woodbine
    Mitchell 0 Personality

  • Rory Carr

    From Independent.ie a story on RTE “jumping the gun” with the result. RTE explains that it was a test from made-up results that were mistakenly shown on their teletext service.

    Strangely enough, going by tally results up to this moment, it might prove to be uncannily accurate.


  • Rory Carr

    At 10.42 am, I’m calling it as follows:

    1. Higgins
    2. Gallagher
    3. McGuinness
    4. Mitchell
    5. Norris
    6. Scallon
    7. Davis

  • HeinzGuderian

    You know when you got the wee bet up in The National Rory…….did you wait until they had cleared the last fence ? 😉

  • the story that sean gallagher solicted donations from hugh morgan for ff in 2008 is true.