Meanwhile, In Seanad Éireann

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gemmaThe sacking of Irish Independent journalist Gemma O’Doherty (right) prompted Labour Senator John Gilroy to say the following on Wednesday:

“I seek a debate on the freedom of the press in light of disturbing reports I have heard in respect of the sacking in recent weeks of an award-winning investigative journalist, Gemma O’Doherty. Some of her work has been raised on the floor of this House. This case has been reported extensively in international media and social media but it does not seem to have generated any traction in our domestic media. When any journalist is sacked it is noteworthy, but when an investigative journalist of Ms O’Doherty’s standing is sacked this must raise great concerns for all democrats. I hope the Leader may arrange, at his earliest convenience, a debate in general terms on the freedom of the press.”

Mr Gilroy’s call was supported by several senators,

Jim Walsh, of Fianna Fáil, said:

“I agree with what Senator Gilroy said about the sacking of Ms Gemma O’Doherty. Many people have come to me in recent months, since the House went into recess, who told me about their difficulties in getting their points of view and their letters into some newspapers because of the particular perspective those papers took on the abortion Bill. That does not serve democracy. Within our media there is self-censorship. If this came about via the Executive or if the State were to impose such censorship, there would be considerable objection and hostility.”

Martin Conway, of Fine Gael, said:

“I was also deeply disturbed to hear about the sacking of Ms Gemma O’Doherty. I was not aware of it. I know her and know her to be a very fine, capable, passionate and determined journalist. I am sure she will have no problem picking up alternative employment with another publication. I would like to know more about how the sacking happened and the reasons for it. She certainly drove the Fr. Niall Molloy case in recent times, an injustice of which we are all aware.”

Labour’s John Kelly said:

“I compliment Ms Gemma O’Doherty on her great work in the Fr. Niall Molloy case. She took it from nothing to being fairly and squarely on the desk of the Minister for Justice and Equality, who promised before the last election an independent commission of inquiry into the death of Fr. Molloy after everything else had been addressed. The cold case investigation has been concluded, the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP, has made a ruling and the matter is now with the Minister. Given the great work done by Ms O’Doherty, I call strongly on the Minister to allow the commission of inquiry to go ahead.

Fidelma Healy Eames, of Fine Gael, said:

“I welcome back my colleagues. As citizens, we enjoy rights, but we never really know how strong they are until they are tested. Like others, I am worried about the sacking of Ms O’Doherty. She was expressing her right to report on various stories. For some reason or other, however, she has been sacked. A debate on the freedom of the press and journalists’ rights must be considered.”

Paul Coghlan, of Fine Gael, said:

“I also wish to compliment Ms Gemma O’Doherty on her research and writing on the Fr. Niall Molloy case. I have spoken on this matter before, as have several other Members. I agree very much with what has been said earlier today by Senator Kelly. Hopefully, now that the matter is with the Minister, something will be done.”

 

Quotes via KildareStreet.com

Previously: Gemma O’Doherty on broadsheet