Tag Archives: Denis O’Brien


The early edition of the Sunday Independent on July 20, 2014 (top) and Stephen Rae, group editor of INM  (above)

Further to SindoGate

The order to stop the presses was made by Stephen Rae, the group editor of INM’s titles, after he was informed by a senior journalist about the contents of the column written by Anne Harris, the newspaper’s editor.
The decision to change Harris’s copy against her wishes led to a heated discussion in the newsroom shortly after 7pm last Saturday, according to sources in the newspaper. Explaining why the presses had been stopped, Campbell Spray, the newspaper’s executive editor of operations, told colleagues Rae was his “ultimate boss”.

Mark Tighe, Sunday Times (behind paywall),

Irish newspaper editor’s column was changed after going to press (Roy Greenslade, Guardian)

Previously: Uncompromising

Denis O’Brien’s Editorial Interference: The Smoking Gun?


Bewildered Student writes:

“Where the hell is the NUJ [National Union of Journalists]?”


(Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

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Today’s Irish Sun

 In today’s Irish Sun, (behind paywall), Neil O’Riordan writes:

“Business tycoon Denis O’Brien coughs up a staggering 70 per cent of [Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane's] pay packets – which amounts to €910,000 of the combined €1.3million wages.

“We have learned that O’Neill earns a cool €1million a year while sidekick Keane collects €300,000 per annum.”

Meanwhile, RTÉ reports:

The Football Association of Ireland secured a debt write-down of €11.7 million, delegates at their Annual General Meeting in Athlone heard today.”

“Today’s AGM was Chief Executive John Delaney’s tenth at the helm of the Association, a period that has been financially challenging for the FAI. In his review of the year, he said the highlight was the refinancing of the stadium debt. The Board recently asked Delaney to continue as chief executive for another five years, a move that’s expected to cost the association €1.8 million or €360,000 a year.”

FAI debt write-down totalled €11.7m, AGM hears in Athlone (RTÉ)

Boys in the Green (Irish Sun)

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 11.47.09 Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 11.39.16

The  Sunday Independent early edition (top) and later editions (above)

The current edition of The Phoenix magazine claims that Sunday Independent editor Anne Harris has agreed early severance terms with Independent News and Media and will leave in October.

Yesterday’s Sunday Independent published an opinion piece by Ms Harris claiming that The Phoenix article was entirely incorrect, saying: ‘the whole story is a lie’.

However Ms Harris’ column in the  Saturday Night Edition of the Sunday Independent – which reaches shops in Dublin on Saturday night – was different the paper’s later edition – which usually reaches shops nationwide early Sunday morning. to wit:

Gavin Sheridan, of TheStory.ie, writes:

There was one critical paragraph that was substantially edited between editions (there are other changes too but I think this is the more significant). The early edition of the paragraph was written thusly (emphasis mine):
‘Since, as I pointed out earlier, none of this is true, I am clearly not the only one defamed. Denis O’Brien is the major shareholder in INM. In theory, with 29pc of the shares, he does not control it. In practice, he does.
But in the later edition of the paper, it said:
‘Since, as I pointed out earlier, none of this is true, I am clearly not the only one defamed. Denis O’Brien is the major shareholder in INM. In theory, with 29pc of the shares, he does not control it.’
I’m not sure this clearly significant change could be blamed on an over zealous sub-editor. The meaning of the entire paragraph has been altered. Why was the column changed and by whom? Was it done with the permission of the editor and author? Which column represents the truly held beliefs of that author? Surely it can’t be both?”


Why was this Anne Harris Sunday Independent column modified? (thestory.ie)

Thanks Gavin



The purchase of three major Irish businesses over the past two years by the billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien involved total bank write-offs of more than €300 million.
The deals saw the businessman invest €230 million to acquire the Siteserv Group, the Topaz Group and the Beacon Private Hospital.
The Siteserv deal saw the State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, which is now in liquidation, write off €110 million of the €150 million it was owed. Mr O’Brien’s move to become the major shareholder in the Topaz Group earlier this year involved the IBRC writing off slightly more than half of the €304 million it was owed.

Banks write off over €300m in three deals with Denis O’Brien (Colm Keena, Irish Times)


[Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen speaks with Denis O'Brien at the end of the Global Irish Economic Forum in September 2009]


Sell Topaz.

Or buy Topaz ‘short’ but sell ‘long’?

Maybe get out of fossil fuels altogether?


Previously: Topaz The Morning To You

Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland


Denis O’Brien is on course to become the fourth largest player in the UK radio market after buying eight stations from Global Radio in a deal believed to be worth £35million.

The Guardian reports:

O’Brien’s media company Communicorp, which runs 40 radio stations across eight countries including Ireland, has picked up the stations that Global Radio has been forced to sell off by competition regulators following its £70m acquisition of GMG Radio.

Communicorp has acquired Smooth East Midlands, Smooth North West, Smooth North East, Capital Scotland, Capital South Wales, Real Radio North Wales, Real Radio Yorkshire and Real XS Manchester. The eight stations have a combined audience of 2.8 million listeners.

Denis O’Brien to buy eight Global Radio stations (The Guardian)


Yesterday, Aine Coffey reported in The Sunday Times how Denis O’Brien is poised to take full control of Topaz, Ireland’s biggest liquid fuel supplier.

Coffey also reported how Topaz staff were informed last week that O’Brien’s associate John Callaghan has been made chairman, while Dermot Dwyer, of Siteserv, has been appointed to the board.

It’s believed he will learn this week if his bid for Topaz’s IBRC loans is successful.

It may be worth bearing in mind that IBRC wrote off more than €64m in debt owed by a British fuels company Blue Ocean Associates before it was taken over by a consortium which included Denis O’Brien.

And IBRC wrote off around €100million in debt belong to Siteserv, before O’Brien bought it for €45million – while he himself owed Anglo hundreds of millions.

Good times.


(Enda Kenny with Joe Mulholland, founder of the McGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal in 2011.)

While announcing that the papers presented at the 2013 MacGill Summer School are now available to read online, the school’s founder Joe Mulholland has written a blog post for politicalreform.ie.

He writes:

“For several years now, and especially since the sudden and brutal fall of the Celtic Tiger, the MacGill School has focussed on reform of the institutions of the state – political, social and economic. With webcasting and the sterling work of our colleagues in broadcasting and the press, this message goes far beyond the conference hall. As has been pointed out many times at MacGill, radical reform of our politics and governance in general has to be a priority if we are not to have recurring crises of the kind we are living painfully through at this time and it has to come from the bottom up.”

“Of course, other European countries are also in deep crisis but we appear to have had nothing but crises since the foundation of the state and have only once been able to offer our citizens the fundamental right of a job in their own country and that was in the first decade of the 21st century. We blew it by having people in authority in various sectors who were, to say the least, negligent and incompetent – and unaccountable.

And yet.


Previously: Blessed Are The Whistleblowers

Looking to 2016 – How stands the Republic? (The Irish Politics Forum)

Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland