Star Chamber


Last night.

A campus-wide ban on the Irish Daily Star was re-affirmed by the university’s Students Union for another three years.

The paper was removed from sale at the college in 2015 after it featured a photo on its front page of the five UCD Students’ who were killed in the Berkeley balcony collapse  “in a very despicable manner”.


44 thoughts on “Star Chamber

          1. Andrew

            I’m glad everyone is agreed. What a wonderful thing an echo chamber is! Starina didn’t even have to reply, there are plenty that will parrot and confirm their bias.

          2. Nigel

            What a wonderful thing that all you can offer as a response is content-free passive agressive sarcasm. You’re the victim of the most terrible crime of all – more than one person disagress with you!

          3. Andrew

            Yes Nigel. When will the book burning commence? The names of the journalists taken? The boycott of other ‘distasteful’ publications -forever?
            It’s quite the utopia you preach.

          4. realPolithicks

            You can always rely on andy to offer only the most positive and life affirming of comments.

          5. Nigel

            I don’t know when it begins but whinging about it because people disagree with you can begin any old time.

  1. Mickey Twopints

    Dom is easily outraged.

    You’d imagine a student of politics would have some grasp of the meaning of freedom of speech.

  2. Iwerzon

    I recall this platform publishing some disturbing and tragic content which it had to remove after a public backlash.

  3. Barry the Hatchet

    It’s not banned on campus though, is it? No one is going to be booted out or fined for buying the paper off campus and bringing it on campus. It’s just a decision not to stock the product in shops that are on campus. I presume they don’t stock Hustler either. Hardly a freedom of speech violation.

      1. Slightly Bemused

        That’s like asking ‘absorbent or waxy’. Same difference, really, just with opposite results…

  4. Optimus Grime

    4 years after the ban on the paper commenced Dominik finally gets his thoughts together…

  5. bob

    I wonder if the average UCD student is even aware of this ban. Did they ban the Indo because INM publishes the Irish Daily Star, and if they didn’t then why even bother.

    Another inactive student protest, that has virtually no impact on anyone, enjoy your pointless gesture.

    I think Dominick is taking the wrong tack but if they (who called for the ban) didn’t bother to set conditions that would end the ban (such as a request for prominent apology and retraction) then it’s even more pointless. Not that this sort of thing is new, every time a student group bans something they act like as it is the most significant gesture since the fight against Apartheid.

    1. Cian

      The original ban was for three years.
      There was a vote to extend the ban for another 3 years – which was agreed by the student population.

      1. bob

        … the small percentage of the student population that actually engages in student politics and vote on these things.

  6. Captainpants

    Many students unions at the moment are dominated by highly intolerant far-left views that most students don’t share.

    This provides great free “the loony left you couldn’t make it up” fodder for right wingers.

    Its only worrying in the sense that its indicative of the broader trend towards inability to debate among sections of the left – everything focused towards ‘shut downs’ ; ‘cancelling’ ad hominems and idiotic ‘who are you to say that’ stuff, but still, who on earth still buys a physical newspaper of any kind nowadays, least of all 18-22 year olds?

    1. deluded

      Things have really gone downhill since the glorious days of open and constructive dialogue when censorship was but a fevered dream.

      1. Captainpants

        Not really things were much worse in the past, its just that it was usually right-wing people that were trying to censor things.

        Still the SU shops can sell and not sell what they like, this is not really an example of censorship.

        1. deluded

          Is it a broader trend or not?
          Why is it not the same trend as before?
          Is a heightened sense of decorum and respectful conduct not part of public organisations of every stripe in every age?
          Is it, in fact, not a “far-left” thing at all?
          Who are these “far-left” strawmen anyway?
          As I understand it the paper was pulled for publishing muck, not for arguing for libertarian principles or some-such. My experience of Trinners was far from left-wing, to be honest.

          1. Captainpants

            It think it is part of a broader trend towards censoriousness from elements of the left in general. particularly pronounced in English speaking countries, though probably not as bad in Ireland as in the U.S. and the U.K. Its probably a side-effect of social media becoming the dominant form of public discourse.

            It is different to the past in that, in previous generations it was normally right-wing social conservatives calling for things to be banned for their ‘sinful’ content – now it tends be to left wing people calling for things/people they define as ‘racist’ , ‘sexist’ and so on to be banned/de-platformed etc.

            In many ways as a phenomenon it is both everywhere and nowhere – it dominates news cycles and Twitter and provides almost all of the op-eds in The Guardian, HuffPo, New Statesman and many others. I’m unsure that anybody in the broader public cares much for it though, though they often pretend to on social media.

    2. Junkface

      I hope that Irish universities and colleges are not following the American left down this route of shutting down anything they don’t like the looks of, and a refusal to engage in debate. All ideas should be exposed to debate and critical thinking, otherwise you are pushing people into the arms of the alt right and populism. Its entirely idiotic.

      1. Nigel

        I disagree. There are points of view and ideas that should be told to just feck off. There was a guy who used to stand on the street in Cork city and tell people the Catholic Church had been taken over by the KGB. The idea and the point of view did not merit debate. If you want to debate and criticise every idea and point of view out there, no matter how stupid or evil, you’re welcome to. Other people are under no such obligation and you don’t have the right to try to place one on them.

      2. f_lawless

        I see it’s already spreading to the highest levels of British academia. Recently, Cambridge University rescinded Jordan Peterson’s fellowship, banning him from speaking there again. The reason cited was merely because Peterson had posed for a photo with someone who wore a t-shirt saying “proud Islamophobe”. Condemnation by association. The university didn’t even contact him before taking the decision and if familiar with his work, would surely know he can’t be described as being ‘Islamophobic’. .As Peterson explained, the photograph was one of 30,000 taken with fans at live events in the past 15 months. “I have a strong belief that people should be allowed to express themselves as they see fit, and I haven’t invoked a dress code at my lectures….Having said that, and despite the low base rate and my feelings about allowing those who attend my lectures their freedom of dress, I have now asked the company that handles the photos to politely ask those who are photographed with me to refrain from more provocative political garb, given that the fallout can be used by those who are not fond of me (a serious understatement) to capitalise on the opportunity the photos provide, particularly in isolation and context-free”

  7. Ian-O

    If its just that its not being sold in their own SU shops which is what I understand, that is also exercising freedom of speech in a way. I bet Veritas does not stock copies of American Psycho or Lady Chatterly’s lover – is that censorship?

    They decided they do not want to sell this particular platform so that is what they are doing. They are not going around taking copies of it off students (as if many would be reading that dirt rag as it is anyway) or stopping people reading it.

    Its not even a proper newspaper, I worked with a guy who would buy it, read it from the back page in as far as the racing and then leave it in the canteen. Asked him once why he never read the front part to which he replied ‘why, sure most of it is pure nonsense”. Had to agree with him. However, that was our own personal opinion and I wouldn’t mind someone reading it where I work etc.

    Their shops, their decision – last time I checked, selling the Star or not selling it does not contravene any rights or equality legislation?

    1. shortforBob

      I don’t think the students Union should be banning things from the campus store on an item by item basis. Let the manager run the store as she or he sees fit.

      I would favour instead an active campaign that advises students not to buy certain products … but when you think about it there are so many products you could potentially boycott if you look more closely

  8. eoin

    Pity the level of education at DCU, don’t they realise the Star is owned by INM which, in its other newspapers, Indo, Sindo, Herald and Sunday World frequently prints unapproved photos of people privately attending funerals, snotty tears dribbling down their faces.

    If you’re going to ban the Star, for the sake of corporate and issue-based consistency, you should be banning the other INM titles as well.

      1. eoin

        One of them is paying to be on a Monopoly board, the other isn’t. Neither is anywhere near a reputable university ranking. It’s easy to confuse them.

    1. Ian-O

      Perhaps, but this is student union territory and I think its healthy for them to test and prod and poke at this sort of stuff – university is the place to learn.

      As soon as they hit the rat race all semblance of morality and justice will leave them and they will, like the rest of us, have to resort to eating their own young to survive.

      Hopefully all those avocados make for tasty offspring?

  9. Slightly Bemused

    I may be showing my age, but this reminds me for some reason of the Major Dad episode ‘Boxer Rebellion’ where the school paper refused to print one of his step-daughter’s pieces arguing against a point of view held by the school. When at a meeting with the principal, Major Dad agreed with all the points laid out by the school, but one. He insisted that the article be printed, using as an excuse that his very job was to protect the right of free speech. Yeah, very kitschy and very 80s American before they became all insular again.

    But the point is that to stifle a point of view, or a publication because you don’t like it or its views is not a valid course allowing for good democratic debate. Yes, the Star showed poor and distasteful judgement in their piece on the Berkeley students, and indeed continues to do so on other issues, but they have been censured. Continuation is not warranted.

    1. Listrade

      If it were a thing on this website, you’d get up voted and gold for the Major Dad reference and knowledge.

  10. Gabby

    A cute student could try placing a few copies of the offending newspaper in the shop that sells reading matter and see how long it takes the shop assistant to notice the displayed contraband.

  11. Nigel

    And ran it happily until it was ironically taken over a joint KGB/Catholic Church bot farm.

  12. Curated by Vanessa for Frilly Keane

    You’d never think t’was exam season

    Grow Up

    Buy it
    Burn it
    Read it
    Turn yere ar ____ s to it
    I couldn’t give ah’

    Although I’ll admit to being surprised tis still being published
    Tis hardly stretching t’ daily tho’
    Is it

    ‘ probably just fulla the racing results and league stuff

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