This Is Off The Record




On RTÉ’s Drivetime Fergal Keane (top), spoke to Mary Wilson about the Association of European Journalists’ event which Frank Daly (above) addressed in Dublin yesterday.

He explained how Mr Daly announced that a post-speech questions and answers session was going to be off the record.

At which point Mr Keane left.

He explained:

 Now remember, this is a room full of journalists. Now many of those journalists are retired but there very senior journalists there aswell, many household names, senior business journalists, some public relations people, who are former journalists. And they were all paying €35 per head for lunch.
…And ‘off the record’ is a term which has a pretty strict definition in journalism. It means essentially a secret briefing, where you can use the information in the future, but you can’t say where it came from and people do it for all sorts of reasons. Politicians, everybody, it’s…it’s the bread and butter of what we do. But the uniquely secretive nature of Nama and the vast amounts of public money, and the public interest involved, as you heard Frank Daly set out himself earlier, made this briefing of particular public interest so as far as I was concerned, I wanted to record it.


He added:

And you can hear now what happened next. You’ll hear the end of Frank Daly’s speech and then the voice of the Association of European Journalists’ chairman telling me to take away my microphone and the last voice you’ll hear is that of Frank Daly himself.”

Daly finishes speaking.


AEC representative: ”Fergal, do you want to collect that?”

Keane: ”Sorry?”

AEC: ”Do you want to collect that (the microphone)?”

Keane: ”Why would I collect it?”

AEC: ”Because we’re switching to the Questions and Answers.”

Keane: ”And?”

AEC: ”That’s partly off the record.”

Keane: “So I’m not allowed record that.

AEC: “No.”

Keane: Inaudible.

Frank Daly: “Well, we can do a deal.”

Laughing in the room.

Tom Lyons of the Sunday Independent who had remained at the Q and A said of the five questions asked only one of them was answered ‘off the record’.

He assured listeners that, while he could not disclose what was said, it was something Daly had already mentioned in his speech.