They’re Calling it QuoteGate


This is an irish Times report on Michael Noonan’s now infamous Bloomberg breakfast briefing (the feta one) as it currently appears online.

The story went up just before lunchtime yesterday.

A contributor to the site copied and pasted it at the time.

And this, he asserts, is how it then read:

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan today warned voting Yes in the upcoming EU fiscal treaty referendum on May 31st would be a “leap in the dark” and a “dangerous leap but that Irish citizens should take it”.
He also told a Dublin event that no other European country but Ireland would be able to pass a referendum on the fiscal treaty. “In all other countries people are concerned about growing inequality. In Ireland we need to keep focus on more important issues of corporate profitability and tax protection we offer international organisations. This is not the time for drastic moves to the left simply to suit populist demands for simplistic idealism of “social justice”


You may notice the changed intro and the rather incendiary quote which is now missing from the story.

There are four possibilities.

1) Noonan never made the remark. It was inserted by a mischievous sub-editor (from the ‘left” perhaps) and hastily removed.

2) The contributor pasted the quote in for the ‘laugh’.

3) The Irish Times was hacked.

4) Noonan did say it (because that’s how he rolls) and The Irish Times chose, for whatever reason, to remove it.

More as we get it.

45 thoughts on “They’re Calling it QuoteGate

  1. DonBosco

    That’s far too coherent a statement for him to have actually made it. Though it wouldn’t surprise me.

  2. Jockstrap

    If you want to get the real cut of these types, check out how they perform at insider business lunches.

    Arrogant and self serving.

  3. beardy man-child

    F*ck the Irish Times, the whole paper it’s on an equal par with the Life Magazine section in the Irish Independent – not fit to wipe one’s backside with

      1. beardy man-child

        I find the texture of the paper in a phone book to really do the job, but it does block the toilet system up badly

      2. Rumpleforeskin

        I just go in the shower or outside if it’s raining reasonably heavily…

  4. C Sharp

    Surely whether or not that was said at a meeting attended by a bunch of people is verifiable, or are commentators on internet forums now a reliable enough source upon which to base a story without verification?

    1. C. Flower

      All that was said was that this appeared on the IT site – and severla people read it there before it was amended. Enquiries are being made …. :)

    2. Oireachtas Retort

      On the “social justice” stuff. Given the record of losing the run of themselves in front of International press which he certainly did yesterday it’s plausible for those sentiments to come from Noonan. It would chime with how Fine Gael hope to project themselves to business world.

      However the first line about a yes being a leap in the dark of is a bit odd to say the least but what was posted on the forum is from the Irish Times site.

      The absence of confirmation has left the door open to speculation.

  5. Rob

    Surely to God he didn’t say that. Although, then one recalls his thoughts on emmigration. His well-to-do kids went abroad because they fancied some time overseas. This, he concluded, surely meant that every emmigrant is leaving because they fancy some time overseas.

  6. C. Flower

    Others are reporting having read this e.g. – “@_politicalworld I can’t – seriously – believe that he said that. Although I do recall reading the “growing inequality” quote myself” (@cassiustweets)/ Question is did Noonan say it, or did someone transcribe his unspoken thoughts ?? IT site hacked ?

  7. GoodCod

    Just off the phone with the IT.

    The explanation forthcoming is that the article is a rewrite of one in the paper. The editor I talked to said she knew nothing about that quote but the article may have been amended to remove anything incorrect. The quote doesn’t appear in the article this one is derived from so it may just be completely made up.

    In fairness it reads like its made up.

    1. C. Flower

      It appeared in the online IT, to the best information available, where it was read by a number of people, and not in the newspaper, It appears to have been amended pretty quickly. Either a hack, or someone being funny at the IT. Although Noonan’s speech was funny enough not to have to gild the lily.

      1. GoodCod

        Yes, but the online article was rewritten from the one in the paper. I haven’t seen a screenshot of the article from this morning so I don’t know whether the quote was actually in the article or just added into the copy pasted text.

        The IT editor said she didn’t know anything about the quote, that it wasn’t in the published article the online article was derived from and that anything factually incorrect would be removed from the online article upon complaint.

        So after all that, I’m still none the wiser as to whether the quote is real or not, but the IT editor I spoke to didn’t seem to think so.

  8. cluster

    Much ado about nothing.
    1) Government minister believes that getting the economy growing is more important at the moment than divvying out equal shares of a non-existent pie.
    2) Fiscal treaty has risks but on balance the Irish should ratify it.
    3) Minister seeks to reassure investors that, even in the midst of Eurozone turbulence, the Irish electorate understand future political changes and are supportive.

    All these opinions are debateable but not all that controversial.

    1. Niall

      Nice words you’re putting in his mouth there.

      If he believed in “getting the economy growing”, he’d be securing funding, by hook or by crook, for public projects, public service recruitment, enterprise grants, microfinance, etc. And don’t even try to pretend that there aren’t ways of saving/raising large sums of money at a stroke.

      Instead, he’s still acting like cutting our way out of a recession … probably a depression, more like … has clearly failed. What’s his Plan B? More of the same?

      You do know that “trickle-down” has been totally discredited at this stage, right? And that equality, social justice and economic growth aren’t mutually exclusive concepts?

      1. cluster

        I reckon I accurately interpreted what he said, I didn’t say that I agreed (‘debateable’).

        Trickle-down economics refers to giving the wealthiest in society tax breaks on the basis that they will reinvest and create jobs. It has been shown to be optimistic at best but attracting investment from abroad is a separate concept altogether. I do agree that there is a balance to be struck between encouraging business and fighting inequality.

  9. Hector Ramirez

    They showed the ‘feta’ clip last night on the News last night, so surely theres a full copy of it on audio or televisually (is that even a word?).

    so has anyone checked bloomberg for a recording of it?

  10. Angrylips

    Of course, anonymous posters of internet forums are always right – sure look at

  11. Hugh Linehan

    Contrary to the assertion on politicalworld, this quote never appeared on Our online news editor has spoken to both reporters involved in the story and also those involved in its editing.

    We have also examined our internal logs to check all previous editions of the article. We cannot find the alleged text in any version.

    Here is a Google web cache link to the first version of the story

    There was then one change to add a live picture from the event and a third, final change with the updated text from our reporter who attended the event.

    Hugh Linehan
    Online Editor
    The Irish Times

  12. AmeliaBedelia

    I’m going with option three. Any update on an explanation from our esteemed paper of record? Is there a transcript knocking around anywhere? If the article was culled then the rewrite is a serious misrepresentation of Noonan’s speech. Extraordinary statements by a sitting Minister for Finance in what amounts to tossing the Irish citizenry under the cart for “corporate profitability” and a complete lack of solidarity to a European country in crisis. And all the mainstream media ran with yesterday was feta-cheese?

    1. Jack

      “Any update on an explanation from our esteemed paper of record?”

      Seriously? It’s literally the post above yours.

  13. Colm

    Considering the post from Hugh Linehan above, when do Broadsheet plan on amending their post to remove any ambiguity? I’m just as sick of shifty politicians as any person, but I’m getting a bit tired of the borderline hysteria being spouted here when the facts aren’t known.

    And yes, I know I don;t need to read it if I don’t like it.

    1. Bodger

      Thanks Colm. Much as we trust the Irish Times and all that we are also waiting to hear back from the peeps at

      1. henrietta street mouse

        I had seen this quote a couple of times over yesterday and early today and with no definitive source. I decided to go to the horses mouth and I called the Irish Times and talked to one of the online editors. This was approximately at 3 pm today.

        I read the quotation in question to him in full. I explained that I was confused about whether or not it was real as it was not in the present version of the online report.

        He told me

        1. That it HAD been in the report and had been sourced in the version of the speech sent out by the Department of Finance as Noonan began speaking.

        2. That it was taken out of it later to make room for on the spot material sent in by Colin Kenna.

        3. That Kenna’s notes from the scene didn’t include the quote and that he (the editor) didn’t know if Noonan actually delivered the lines.

        To be clear I personally have no idea what was in speech that DOF sent out. I also have no idea what Noonan did talk about apart from the bits in news reports yesterday and today. I just know what an IT editor told me.

      2. Cass Flower: Administrator, Political World

        We have checked up again on the sequence of postings and IT Online updates, and it is clear for anyone to view that there was at least two more versions of the IT report published by the IT than accounted for in Hugh Linehan’s post here. I
        brought this to the attention of the IT yesterday,but have as yet received no response.
        The timeline is here –

        I have no reason to doubt PaddyJoe, and accept that what he posted was what he saw on the IT. It is plain that the IT is not at all clear about what it published and when.

        What Noonan did and didn’t say is a different question entirely. I’m still looking in to that.

  14. jackobite

    Methinks that joker on politicalworld got a bit sneaky with the cut and paste and tried to pull a fast one.


  15. styron

    Is this glittering ‘new media’ little more that online rumour monger pandering to readership prejudices by fabrication?

    You can’t substantiate this quote and don’t have a leg to stand on – the IT and Google cache evidence flatly contradict your “Deep Throat” at the august

    Time to pretend like you’re real journalists – retract and apologise to the IT (and Noonan).

  16. Bartholomew

    The version on politicalworld is not the text on the IT cached page with a quote pasted in, it’s a different text altogether. The IT report starts by saying that voting no would be a leap in the dark – the politicalworld version says that voting yes would be the leap.

  17. Cass Flower: Administrator, Political World

    Well, the mystery is – sort of – solved. For anyone still interested in this, I’ve found the source of the disputed text, and it is neither the IT nor

    A page of the IT was mashed and circulated via Twitter last Wednesday morning. The article was Colm Keena’s with amendments and additions by an unknown masher/hacker.

    A copy was kindly salvaged and sent to me by a blogger @cassiustweets, from their caches.

    The spoof text in my view reflects Noonan’s attitudes with extraordinary accuracy.

    The text was never on the IT website, in spite of the appearance to the contrary. Nor was it an invention by PaddyJoe on

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