Tag Archives: irish times

itToday’s Irish Times


Les we forget.

The media have not been shy about announcing their role in convincing the public that austerity is good for them.

At the outset of the crisis, in November 2008, an editorial the Irish Times, called for a campaign to ‘educate’ the population about the need for austerity and ‘civic discipline’.

The problem was that Irish people did ‘not appreciate the possible extent of the economic downturn’ because only 10% of them thought the budget should be tougher while two-thirds thought it should be less tough, according to a national poll.

The editors thus concluded that ‘the Government will have a major job to do in educating public opinion about unpalatable economic realities and the need for civic discipline’.

The media have helped the government extensively in that task. One reason that explains why only about 12% of articles oppose austerity is that a large majority of writers come from elite institutions that favour austerity.

Excluding regular journalists, 29% of the authors of opinion articles in the press on austerity are mainstream economists, 28% are working in the financial or corporate sector, and 20% are political officials in the three main political parties, which have all supported austerity.

The media’s favourable view of fiscal consolidation can be assessed through the following sample of article titles published since 2008: ‘Commitment and Stamina are Required for Fiscal Consolidation’ (Irish Times), ‘New Budget will Prove Tough but Necessary’ (Sunday Independent), ‘Austerity Vital to Maintain our Economic Sovereignty’ (Irish Times), ‘We Need to Stop Living in Denial and Cut Costs Even Further’ (Sunday Independent), ‘We Must Suffer the Pain Now—Or Else we will Blight Future Generations’ (Sunday Independent), ‘Bill is Tough but Necessary’ (Irish Times), ‘Tough Budget Would Restore Confidence’ (Irish Times), ‘Supplementary Budget can Begin Urgent Task of Restoring Depleted Tax Revenues’ (Irish Times), ‘Budget May Cut Wages and Raise Taxes to Restore Competitiveness’ (Irish Times), ‘[Austerity] Budget Will Restore Confidence and Hasten Economic Recovery’ (Irish Times) and ‘Tough Budget Needed to Stave Off Grimmer Future’ (Irish Times).

Dr Julien Mercille

Relentless Cheeleaders For Austerity (Julien Mercille, Social Europe)

Previously: Relentless Cheerleaders for Austerity



‘Sold out': Charlie Hebdo poster in Paris today

Further to the Irish Times’s decision to not publish the cover of Charlie Hebdo’s latest issue

Some argue that the decision by most Irish newspapers not to reproduce the more provocative Charlie Hebdo cartoons is a betrayal of free expression….Charlie Hebdo certainly saw itself as defending free speech; but in a deliberately provocative manner. It has described itself as a “journal bête et méchant” [silly and rude newspaper]. Like Jyllands-Posten in Denmark, it countered the Muslim prohibition on images of the prophet by printing the most offensive images of Muhammad it could provide.

…Without question, nothing it did justified the slightest violence against Charlie Hebdo.
But does not publishing images of Muhammad really infringe the public’s right to information? Is this the real front line in the battle for media freedom? Surely there are more important challenges to be made than this one?

‘Right to offend’ does not require journalists to offend (Ronan Brady, Irish Times)

The rest of us generally try to show a bit of respect and decency and not do stuff that would needlessly draw on the crazies, just for the hell of it. And that sort of automatic self-censorship is what makes us civilized as human beings. It’s not just a matter of judgment; it’s a matter of common sense. Talking about some concept of ‘absolute and unfettered free speech’ is not only factually untrue, it also assumes the imposition of a whole range of cultural values on another people who happen to share the globe but who think differently.

Amidst the right and proper condemnation of the killings in Paris, surely it is possible that we can ask some questions, and give some context. Or is there also to be a censorship of any debate around this event, which would be a grim irony in itself. Surely, such a debate is worth having, and having urgently, given that Charlie Hebdo now plans to publish further such images and other publications have vowed to do the same, thereby surely creating further unrest – and possible killings.

Charlie Hebdo should now stop demonizing Muslims for everyone’s sake Eamon Delaney, Irish Central)

Yesterday ‘Gratuitously Offensive’


“The Alliance Francaise cultural centre in Dublin said, based on their inquiries, there is no where in the State to purchase a copy of the magazine. A spokesman there said some members of staff were asking relatives in France to buy them a copy. He added that the centre would be taking out a subscription with the magazine so members will be able to read it in the library there, but they won’t be allowed take it home.”

Charlie Hebdo proving elusive for Irish readers (Irish Times)


Kevin O’Sullivan, top second from left in beige coat, at the ceremony for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, organised by the National Union of Journalists in Dublin Castle on Saturday. Above: Charlie Hebdo’s latest cover


“The paper took the view that publication of the cartoons was likely to be seen by Muslims as gratuitously offensive and would not contribute significantly to advancing or clarifying the debate on the freedom of the press.”

“The “right to offend”, an essential corollary of the right to freedom of expression, could be defended and upheld, as it should be, the paper holds, by other means than causing further offence to the overwhelming majority of a community which deplored the threats to Jyllands Posten [the Danish paper which published depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in 2006] and the attack on Charlie Hebdo.”

“The Irish Times unequivocally and unapologetically defends the right of Charlie Hebdo to publish, and regards the attack on the magazine as an outrageous attack on the freedom of press. The paper welcomes the French government’s commitment to help the magazine financially and expresses its solidarity with the brave band of journalists who are determined to keep the title afloat.”

Irish Times editor Kevin O’Sullivan on why his paper will not reprint Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad cartoons or the magazine’s new cover.

The Irish Times and the cartoons (Kevin O’Sullivan, Irish Times)

Previously: Désolé

Publish And Be Damned

‘Sauce For The Catholic Goose Is Not Sauce For The Islamic Gander’

Pic: Newstalk


A cartoon by Martyn Turner which was published in the Irish Times in April

You may recall how Martyn Turner’s cartoon, above, was removed from the Irish Times website shortly after publication, on foot of Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin complaining about it during a Holy Thursday mass in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral.

Mr Turner’s cartoon was published a day after retired parish priest Fr Gearóid Ó Donnchú told Chris O’Donoghue on Newstalk that he would not break the seal of confession under any circumstance.

They were discussing this because then Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald had just published the Children First Bill, which provided for the mandatory reporting of child abuse and the Catholic Church’s seal of the confessional.

Further to this, journalist Ed Moloney writes:

“It was heartening to see the Irish Times leading the condemnation from Irish journalism of the brutal Jihadist attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last week and defending the right to free expression by participating in an international protest organised by Index on Censorship.”

“The “right to offend”, the paper opined, “must be defended with courage and vigour”.”

“However it would have been even more uplifting had the Times injected a note of regret in its commentary that it had failed to take its own advice to defend the “right to offend” with “courage and vigour” when last April its editors censored and withdrew from the internet a cartoon drawn by in-house cartoonist, Martyn Turner because it had offended senior members of the Irish Catholic hierarchy.”

“It seems that sauce for the Catholic goose is not sauce for the Islamic gander.”

When Will The Irish Times Remember The Cartoon It Censored At The Behest Of Religious Fanatics? (The Broken Elbow)

Previously: Bless Me Father

Act Of Contrition

13/12/2010 Labour introduces four new candidates.

Labour Senator John Whelan

Labour Senator John Whelan was a contributor on RTÉ’s Late Debate, presented by Cormac O’hEadhra, on November 5.

During the interview, there was this exchange:

John Whelan: “I believe the contract should have been awarded, the record will show, to Bord na Móna. I believe that Bord Gáis, and this is why the Government has gone in, Alan Kelly has gone in and stripped it back, the board has to be reconfigured, reconstituted and…interrupted.”

Cormac O’hEadhra: “Wait now, this is very serious John. What you’re saying this evening, surely, does that not render the validity of the Bill, the Act all null and void?”

Whelan: “No, what I’m saying is this. Bord Gáis through the process of New Era and the line minister at the time made a pitch to establish Irish Water and I believe they did so under false pretences and they haven’t delivered.”

On November 14, Anthony Sheridan, of the blog Public Inquiry, noted that Senator Whelan’s relevant remarks were removed from RTÉ’s radio playback service.

Yesterday, the Irish Times reported on RTÉ’s decision to remove the remarks, quoting an RTÉ spokeswoman saying: “The comment on The Late Debate was removed from playback following an internal editorial decision. This can happen on occasion with a live programme.”

It also reported Senator Whelan, a journalist, saying: “I said what I said in the knowledge of the full import of what I was saying and I did not need the privilege of the House to do so… There was no libel and no slander. It was fair comment on a matter in the public interest.”

However, this morning, Mr Sheridan writes:

“I see the Irish Times took up my story surrounding the dramatic revelation by Labour Senator John Wilson that Bord Gais had made their pitch to establish Irish Water under false pretences.”

“Bizarrely, however, the Irish Times took the same line as RTE and, effectively, censored the principal allegation made by Senator Whelan.”

“Here’s the exact charge made by the Senator against Bord Gáis:”

“No, what I’m saying is this. Bord Gáis through the process of New Era and the line minister at the time made a pitch to establish Irish Water and I believe they did so under false pretences and they haven’t delivered.”

“Here’s how the Irish Times reported his allegations:”

“No, what I’m saying is this: Bord Gáis through the process of New Era and the line minister at the time made a pitch to establish Irish Water . . . and they haven’t delivered.”

“Leaving out the words; ‘under false pretences’ strips the report of any relevance, it effectively kills the story.”

“So much for the ‘paper of record’.”



RTÉ took ‘internal editorial decision’ to remove exchange with Senator about Irish Water (Irish Times, Thursday, November 20)

Irish Times censors RTE censored programme (Anthony Sheridan, Public Inquiry)