The final leaders debate on RTÉ’s Prime Time

During the final leaders’ debate, broadcast live on RTÉ television on 23 February, presenter Miriam O’Callaghan wanted to know if Gerry Adams in government would appoint “cronies” to state boards.

She made reference to a number of individuals, including Danny Morrison. When Adams pointed that Danny Morrison is now a “private citizen” she responded that he had been “convicted for kidnapping”.

O’Callaghan – whose brother Jim was elected as a TD for Fianna Fáil just days later – was apparently unaware that the kidnapping for which Morrison was convicted in 1990 (and for which he spent over five years in prison) was overturned in 2008 and he was paid substantial compensation from the British state…

…The second law-suit is in relation to an interview given by the Labour Party’s then TD Joe Costello to Saturday with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio in which he named Sinn Féin’s Nicky Kehoe in relation to unfounded media accusations which claimed ‘sinister and subversive elements’ are controlling the party.

RTÉ faces defamation cases over general election coverage (Mark Moloney, An Phoblacht)

Previously: ‘RTÉ Obscured The Reality Of The Election – And Did So Deliberately’

66 thoughts on “Writs Out

  1. Kate

    Danny Morrison is not long after lifting a six figure sum from the courts…his pockets are bulging already…

  2. Clampers Outside!

    In all fairness…. “eight people found guilty of being part of a republican kidnap gang have been awarded £1.6 million after their convictions were quashed because of the role of a British secret agent. ”

    His conviction was quashed….. “but the reason remains a state secret.”

    Why was it quashed again? “because of the role of a British secret agent” which was not revealed in the earlier proceedings…. not because they didn’t do the kidnapping. I don’t believe, that’s in contention at all.

    Just sayin’ like.

    1. phil

      Clamps Sin Fein is your blindspot, I believe your many posts have added value to this site, and keep ’em coming , but dont get distracted by the one issue.

      I have no interest in SF when it comes to voting , but yada yada yada..

      Only sayin’ myself…

    2. Terry Crone

      Yes, Clamps, SF is indeed your blindspot.

      Apparently, Stakeknife told him to come to an address, in his role as head of publicity for SF, to meet a guy who wanted to arrange a press conference to admit being a spy.
      He arrives, and the British army & RUC suddenly appear & arrest him for kidnapping the guy he hasn’t met til that second.
      So, he was framed, by British agent Stakeknife, to imprison him & take him out off the street.
      Compensation due, one would have thought.

      Try to bear in mind the way the forces of law & order were partisan arms of the state in the conflict at the time. I know you probably won’t hear this over the din of your anti-SF alarm (nobody could blame you, btw – look at the poisonous southern media diet you’re consuming) – but the cops regularly responded to even abuse reports by trying to recruit the complainant for supply of unrelated political info. Famously, happened in the Adams case, according to the victim.

      Messed up times. Thankfully behind us.
      By the way, one would have to suspect that similarly messed up stuff happened in the Tan war. No reason it would exempt from the culture of the time, exacerbated by desperate circumstances.

    1. 15 cents

      once something is said, its out there. the damage is done. a lot more wouldve heard it on the leaders debate than on whatever she retracted it on.

  3. kingo

    last week on Joe duffy the daughter of a late irish businessman described a relatively senior journalist with a National newspaper as ‘an idiot’ on behalf of liveline Joe had a retraction the following day. will a writ be forthcoming?

    1. Smashmouth

      There’s a world of difference between being called an ‘idiot’ and being accused of kidnapping

  4. 15 cents

    delighted, hope she and RTE get done for defamation. im not a sinn fein supporter, but it was ridiculous how hard RTE and the independent went after them. the indo still do. the way they write articles ridiculing Adams is appauling, theyre written so partizan. real childish carry on.

      1. 15 cents

        theres very much a case there. she’s identified him as a person, as being someone convicted for kidnapping. a serious crime he was exonerated of. she’s used it in this case to tarnish him, to say he’s not of credible character. in a slanderous way. any lawyer worth their salt would walk this case for him.

          1. 15 cents

            yea that’s what theyll say. but it’ll be countered with the fact that something he was exonerated from was used to identify him, is in fact, defamation, especially because it wasnt prefixed with or followed by informing that he was exonerated. so on such a public platfrom, without clarifying, its then defamation. lets just see how it plays out. he doesnt seem to be seeking legal action so its unlikely anything will happen, but he would have a case

  5. Paddy

    President Miriam is just a distant memory. Pity Kenny didn’t get the same treatment during the presidential debate.

  6. ollie

    The Journal reported this debate with “The only winner here was O’Callaghan herself.”

    Might want to revise that comment.

    1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

      Blonde hair and blunt teeth.. That’s our Miriam…
      It would be funny if it wasn’t true!!!!!

      I want to thank Catherine mcEntee for the exclamation mark(s). Without her I wouldn’t have them!!!!!


  7. GOS

    This is not news re Morrison. It was corrected on air by her that evening when he tweeted a correction. She should have said that Morrison has admitted PIRA membership and that his defence was that he was in the house where the kidnapped gentleman was being held but didn’t know he was there.

    If you’re going to raise a story give the full picture.

    Re the ‘unfounded media reports’ – that’s actually a PSNI report and SF have sued no one over it.

    An Phoblacht is the newspaper of a political party. It is a propaganda sheet. If Broadsheet gets into the habit of presenting its stories in like manner to how it presents those from other sources it will be a sad day.

    1. Tired old refrain

      You mean they don’t do that already from loons like Frilly Keane and Mercille and that unelectable bozo Anne Marie McNally?

  8. GOS

    And the appointment by SF of its former head of publicity and close friend of its leaders to a position is pure cronyism. He is not simply a ‘private citizen’

          1. Frilly Keane

            OK. Tell ya wha’

            Gimme the titke for Friday’s Frill-Bit

            You get to pick
            Anything you want….

          2. Tired old refrain

            Oh jaysus

            It has to be “Tits Out”

            With the Spring and everything and the clocks going forward the wee birdies are singing but you could perhaps explain why our Neanderthal Stone Age civil war Mafiosi parties are refusing to engage with their civic responsibility to form a government

          3. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

            Frilly, I love you.

            I love Catherine McEntee much, much more, but I love you too.

            Our three accents, mine Dublinish, her’s Englishwise, you’r’s Corkonianesque.
            What a threesome we could be!!!!!

            I don’t know what to say.

          4. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

            It’s a ready-made comedy troupe.
            Hard-hitting comedy. political stuff with a biting edge.
            And sexual innuendos. Lots of them.
            I insist on it.

            What happens in the dressing-room is nobody’s business

  9. Declan

    Am I the only one who noticed she asked all the leaders a similar question on cronies. David Begg et al to Joan.

    Only for the extra bit about the kidnapping which was a bit tasteless, she’s right to ask these questions. If you want normal politics then, Jerry Adams, Enda Kenny, et al need to be asked these questions.

    Finally, if Redacted sued Miriam/RTE think we’d be all up in arms. It’s double standards for an ex Provo to pretend be a choir boy and sue her and no one give a crap because you know RTE…..

    This is the kind of thing which makes people stop asking awkward questions, I’d much prefer a responsible media who will correct (as she did) then a frightened one

    1. Tired old refrain

      Way to miss the point completely.

      Does Rte routinely pillory the likes of Enda Kenny or Micheal Martin to probe into their parties paramilitary past? Strange because from what I read elected representatives of both still stick to the same old civil war roles when the people demand they form a government

      1. Declan

        I disagree. RTE tends to probe their broken promises and dodgy budgets. Sinn Fein don’t want to go into Govt here in the Republic.

        The paramilitary stuff is fair game as we still see the consequences and actions of it, from the Northern Bank robbery to Maria Cahill. If Sinn Fein wants to be a normal political party and be treated as one then act as one.

        Also I don’t mind see SF part of a coalition Govt. Perhaps then they’ll stop the Holy Joe crap. The last people to do that are the Catholic Church and we know how that turnt out

        1. some old queen

          SF are way too experienced to be a normal political party and by that I mean propping up the two che)o(eks of what is the political choice in Ireland. I personally don’t believe they are solution but I don’t believe they are the problem either.

          1. Declan

            That’s a fair enough view of the situation, it just makes the whole situation more cynical

        2. Tired old refrain

          You’re still missing the point spectacularly. What the piece illustrates is that rte don’t even care to fact check the story lest it might taint the Shinners are Still the IRA meme and narrative. Grow up.

          1. Declan

            They corrected it quickly after. If Sinn Fein want to lose the Sinn Fein = IRA did dump the current leadership.

          2. some old queen

            It’s weird that the mainstream media think that getting rid of Adams is going to improve SF’s electoral chances. In fact they aggressively insist on it except so far, he has done SF no harm at all.

            I reckon when he does die, they will stuff and mount him. More worrying is that it will probably be written into his will? :-)

          3. Tired old refrain

            Overstating for emphasis Declan. I just think you’re being a bit disingenuous

  10. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    If Sinn Fein wants to be a normal political party and be treated as one then act as one.

    -Isn’t that what they’re doing?

    Maybe I’m simplifying it to myself, but I see them as moving slowly in that direction.
    -At a pace that the public can handle.

    Yes, they have excessive baggage to carry with them.
    Who the fupp doesn’t?
    Who is culpable?
    -Better question, who will take us out of this miserable mire?

    All I know is that when you call a Sinn Féin Councillor things get done the same day.
    That matters to me.

    1. Declan

      Yes, they’re self interested just like all the other parties’ councillor. They’ll do things for you to get your vote.

      I just don’t want to listen to them or read the Sinnerbots persecution complex. They had it rough, I’ll grant them that but everyone has a struggle. It’s when they go on about it as if only they had to deal with it, that it bothers me.

      Also (while I’m ranting) – Jerry Adams isn’t the only guy in the peace process, John Hume and David Trimble won a noble prize for that. Sinn Fein have no connection to 1916 other than a tenuous my fathers father one, which all the other parties have. We’re not the Free State or the South; we are the Republic of Ireland.

      I off to get a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit now : )

  11. Truth in the News

    The point at issue is that the question was put by O’Callaghan who is a
    solicitor as well as a professional broadcaster, if there is case taken for
    defamation, its not RTE that should pick up the bill for damages, its the
    individual that uttered the defamitory words, another matter then arises
    will RTE continue to retain the services of who ever uttered the words
    The treatment of Sinn Fein in the last election in certain sections of the
    media will come back to haunt quite a few media outlets and could well
    put them out of business, instead of the opposite….whether we like it or
    not the Shinners and all the rest of them are here to stay, and we might
    as well get used to it…..so did the Btit’s years ago:

    1. ahjayzis

      I’m not defending anyone’s treatment of anyone, but making journalists directly and personally liable for damages would be the biggest attack on media freedom – massive chilling effect and an end to any proper investigative journalism.

      If I wasn’t covered by my practices prof indemnity I’d never make a decision, as it would ruin me. Same applies.

  12. Truth in the News

    This was not a heat of the moment utterance, this programme took days of
    research and preperation, the presenter had a list of questions, also earpiece
    aural pompts and instructions, so there is no excuse.
    There is also the issue of malice and were the words uttered in good faith at
    the end of the day the media do not enjoy privelage, as discovered on this website
    last summer, it is only when the report the trancripts of body that has privelage.

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