Great Man In A Crisis

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James Morrissey, Denis O’Brien’s media adviser, arriving at Dublin Castle in 2010 for the Moriarty Tribunal

You may have read Malachy Clerkin’s column, headlined Is there no end to Denis O’Brien’s intervention in Irish sport?, in the Irish Times last Thursday.

In it, Mr Clerkin recalled an exchange about tax exiles between Mr O’Brien and Oisín Quinn, counsel for the Irish Daily Mail, during Mr O’Brien’s successful libel case against the Irish Daily Mail.

Mr Clerkin then argued:

“It is difficult to see yourself reflected in a national team that on a certain level is just a billionaire’s plaything.”

Further to this, Mr O’Brien’s media gatekeeper James Morrissey has written a letter to the Irish Times this morning, stating:

Sir, – I read Malachy Clerkin’s column in The Irish Times with interest (“Is there no end to Denis O’Brien’s intervention in Irish sport?”, September 18th). Clearly Malachy Clerkin doesn’t want Denis O’Brien to support Irish soccer or Irish rugby. Would he have preferred that these sports would be denied any assistance that just might help them progress? It strikes me as a rather unusual stance for a sports journalist.

If Malachy had bothered to check the facts he would have learned that Denis O’Brien’s support for the Irish cricket team came as a result of a request for immediate assistance during the 2007 Cricket World Cup when they unexpectedly got through to the Super 8 round.

From the general tone of his column it would appear that Malachy would have been happier if the plea for help was rejected. If he has such a hang-up about financial contributions that have sought nothing in return, how does he feel about sports sponsorship?

What strikes me as particularly incongruous is how an advocate of sport could so determinedly attempt to convert what just might be a positive motivation into some covert agenda.

What lies ahead for readers of The Irish Times – Malachy Clerkin rails against corporate branding of sports? Opposing advertising on sports pages? Refuses any element of his salary which might be sourced from commercial activities? Maybe Malachy is a sports journalist who simply does not like sports.

Yours, etc,
JAMES MORRISSEY,
Media adviser
to Denis O’Brien,
Fitzwilliam Quay, Dublin 4.

He used to be a journalist.

No really.

Denis O’Brien and sport (Irish Times letters)

Photocall Ireland

52 thoughts on “Great Man In A Crisis

  1. Deli

    I have no problem with DOB receiving the telecom licence in the manner he did. I have no problem with him being offshore for tax reasons. In fact I like the man apart from the fact that he sets his hounds on any negative article that is written about him. It’s as if he is trying to hide something or change the way people think about him.

  2. cormacjones

    This is a pathetic effort. It’s not sponsorship people have a problem with. For me it’s not even rich benefactors having a team as their personal play thing.

    It’s having a non dom who had 60 adverse findings against him in the Moriarty tribunal sponsoring a team

    James Morissey is trying to deflect from the main issue.

  3. Ferg B

    Just pay your taxes as a resident in ireland Denis. If you did that we could probably fund all these things on our own. Without what passes for your help

    1. Silmar Recruitment Consultants

      Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses

  4. rotide

    I read the article and I usually like Malachy Clerkins stuff but thats just axe grinding.

    He doesn’t actually draw any negative conclusions from DOBs sponsorship of sports, just whines on about tax evasion like the dullard proles here. The dude writing the letter is completely correct

    1. Anne

      “Rotide isn’t really best known around here for his intellectual rigour”
      Another commenter, sometime in August 2014.
      (It wasn’t me.)

    2. rotide

      Here’s some homework for you then.

      Where exactly does Clerkin mention an actual tangible drawback of DOBs sponsorship of sport (apart from “it FEELS bad”).

      Of course, you could continue to call me a cnut and not actually address any of this, that would be good too.

      1. aubrey

        Denis/Rotide/whomever… If someone is an Irish citizen who claims to non-dom so he doesn’t have to pay his way, like an anti-patriot, they probably aren’t the type of person to have influence over a national sports team.
        If someone has had sixty adverse findings against them in a criminal tribunal on corruption, they probably aren’t the type of person to have influence over a national sports team.
        If someone is so eager to buy up media in a country that one can only surmise that he is a controlling megalomaniac with some very dark secrets to hide, and opinions to influence, they probably aren’t the type of person to have influence over a national sports team.
        If someone is pretty much reckoned to have had dealings with corrupt individuals by even the dogs on the street, they probably aren’t the type of person to have influence over a national sports team.
        If someone is so litigious that you can’t fart his name without being issued a writ, to the point where most people wonder what exactly this man is trying to stifle, they probably aren’t the type of person to have influence over a national sports team.
        If someone is a controlling monopolist, they probably aren’t the type of person to have influence over a national sports team.
        ad nauseum.

        1. rotide

          See now that would be a good article, unfortunatly he didnt mention any of it apart from alluding to the tax avoidance issue. Hence, axe grinding.

          As to the the main thrust of your point, it all comes down to ‘influence’ doesn’t it. A shirt sponsor would have a LOT more invested in any team than DOB has in any of the sports he donates to, so should we be worried O2 (now 3) having undue influence over the IRFU? How about Vodafone subtly pulling the strings in the Dublin county board? Noone seriously worries about this.

          So it comes down to the fact that people just don’t like DOB and an individual is a lot easier to target than a faceless board. So even if he does actually come to the rescue of a national team (the lawyer above is spot on in what happened to the cricket team) and allows a team to compete on a world stage after showing true sporting heroics , he gets an absolute hammering for it.

          The articles bemoaning companies involved in bringing the country to its knees sponsoring sports teams are curiously short on the ground. Articles about the journalistic boogeyman are a lot easier to come by.

        2. Freia

          It’s not a question of whether or not an individual is sponsoring a team, it’s a question of giving legitimacy to someone who is not just a manufactured ‘boogeyman’, rather someone whose actions, past and present, as Aubrey listed above, speak tawdry volumes about flimsy morals, dirty business dealings, megalomania and monopolistic tendencies. Just read Aubrey’s list again there. None of it is manufactured because he/she just doesn’t like DOB.

        3. rotide

          It’s EXACTLY a question of whether someone is sponsoring a team.

          I’ve read Aubreys list. I’m well aware of DOBs past. My beef is not with what he did and didn’t do, it’s whether he should get more or less flack for it than say BOI sponsoring Leinster.

          Would you rather that the Irish cricket team had been forced to go home and forfeit after beating pakistan on the offchance that someone less morally grounded than yourself be unduly influenced to view DOB in a better light?

  5. Tom Stewart

    That Denis O’Brien is an awful fecker.

    (SWAT team enters Tom’s house five minutes later and send him to Guantanamo)

  6. Mr. T.

    What Morrissey knows full well is that such things as sponsoring national sports teams is a form of civil bribery known as Social License.

    By donating money to social activities and charitable causes in a country, those citizens then feel less inclined to question the commercial activities of the benefactor and how they acquired their wealth.

    He does the same in Haiti.

  7. Mr. T.

    A good journalist might contact Morrissey at FHS and ask him if O’Brien is involved in a legal firm in Dublin who seek out people who inadvertently infringe copyright and patents which are sitting on shelves gathering dust. Basically, entrapment.

  8. Freia

    Who is good at infographics? Could a Denis O’Brien connections map be created, illustrating his associates, business interests, assets, stakes, influences, findings brought against him etc? Something very readable and reproducible? Something that can be printed off quite easily and perhaps posted physically everywhere and anywhere.

  9. Freia

    He should get more flack, because he deserves more flack. Okay, great he sponsored the Irish Cricket team, but I’m not going to jump to his defense whenever a bad word is written about him …

    1. rotide

      Not sure where this will end up in the wreckage so I’ll quote.

      “He should get more flack, because he deserves more flack. Okay, great he sponsored the Irish Cricket team, but I’m not going to jump to his defense whenever a bad word is written about him …”

      He does deserve flack, but for the right reasons. The article is giving him flack for the wrong reasons. Which is my point.

  10. realPolithicks

    It’s like the 11th commandment: thou shalt make no negative comment about Denis O Brien, ever!
    What a thin skinned ahole.

  11. Clampers Outside!

    Let’s try that again…. BS should give this post a gameshow name like ‘Beat The Moderator’ :)

    Anyhoo…. using bits of the above, not moderated and my own now deleted comment…..

    “A non dom who had 60 adverse findings against him in the Moriarty tribunal sponsoring a team” in a sport that promotes fairness, is in my opinion, a double standard and riddled with confliction and contradiction when examined closely.
    Accepting the donation gives social licence to the donor and can, in my view, be seen as condoning the actions and practices that lead to the 60 adverse findings against that individual. Which would be in conflict with the fair tenets of any sport.

  12. Buzz

    Lots of interesting posts deleted but Rotide is all over the thread. Another victory for Denis? Killing communication one day at a time.

    1. rotide

      No fooling you Buzz!

      While I run my business empire, i pose as hapless troll ‘Rotide’ to while away my downtime

      1. Buzz

        I don’t for a second think you, Rotide, are DO’B. My point was that your comments survived the cull, an indication of the level of discourse that survives his whip-cracking paranoia.

    2. Caroline

      Wow nice sleuthing… and did you know that rotide backwards spells “editor”??? O’Brien’s got every single one of them under his thumb.

Comments are closed.