‘Political Opportunism’


Playwright Colin Murphy’s column in the Sunday Business Post at the weekend

In the Sunday Business Post at the weekend, playwright and columnist Colin Murphy wrote about the coverage of Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey.

He wrote:

In school, we called this a pile-on. Online, it’s called a shaming. The journalist Jon Ronson wrote an illuminating book about this, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, where he tracked down people to whom this had happened.

This emerging culture of online shaming “felt different to satire or journalism or criticism”, he wrote. “It felt like punishment.” This punishment may not have been intended by those contributing to it, but it was real.

…Maria Bailey gave us all a laugh. For those who perceive her party as out of touch, arrogant and reeking of privilege, #SwingGate was symptomatic of a broader malaise.

But it is not a significant political or policy story. Linking it to the ‘compo culture’ issue is valid but unenlightening; most of this linking of it has merely been self-righteous political opportunism.

The newspaper failed to mention that Mr Murphy is a brother of Fine Gael TD and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.

Further to this…

ucancallmecaroline tweetz:

Should journalist state a conflict of interest if they have family members related to political parties when writing political articles.

It’s time to back off: Bailey has been punished enough (The Sunday Business Post)

28 thoughts on “‘Political Opportunism’

    1. realPolithicks

      Since there appears to be no other sanction against these frauds then public shaming seems to be the way to go.

  1. GiggidyGoo

    Colin too engrossed with writing fictional plays so decides to write a piece of fiction for the benefit of Yoghan’s party.
    Keep on digging boys.

  2. GiggidyGoo

    I think our very own Eoin pointed this brotherly relationship out a day or two ago.

    1. Tighe's Cylon

      That’s irrelevant – the article should have had a disclaimer pointing out the relationship of the author both to the political party and also to his brother.

      Also – ‘Our very own Eoin’? Are you another scion of that clan?

      1. GiggidyGoo

        The Eoin I refer to is a contributer here. Not Eoghan Murphy. He pointed out the relationship a day or two ago. And yes, these relationships should be made clear. Same as Miriam O’Callaghan conducting political debates when her brother is a FF TD.

  3. dhod

    it should have been mentioned. This ‘leave her alone’ thing that’s going around over the past few days is nonsense. She’s a TD in a country with an insurance crisis and a compo culture. She tried to swindle a business and failed miserably. As a business owner I feel we are finally being listened to re insurance premiums, so you could say this is Maria Bailey’s finest work.
    should we also talk about Mr Murphy’s grandfather? He was also a crook

    1. Zaccone


      You’re in a position of public scrutiny if you’re a TD – thats just part of the job. If you decide to pursue a highly dubious legal case, and then defend the merits of that case (very badly) in national media interviews, you’re going to get a lot of media attention. Nothing unexpected, or out of the ordinary there.

      Colin Murphy shouldn’t be writing about the issue at all given his brother is both a workmate and a friend of Maria Bailey, so presumably Colin at least knows her socially. But if he is going to write about it the least that could be expected is a conflict of interest disclaimer letting the reader know hes Eoghan Murphy’s brother.

  4. eoin

    “Should journalist state a conflict of interest if they have family members related to political parties when writing political articles.”

    Shocking, next you’ll be suggesting Miriam O’Callaghan is conflicted just because she was frontrunner to be the FF presidential candidate last year and the small matter of her brother being the FF justice spokesperson. Just shows you how weak governance is at RTE, there are in fact rules to avoid such perceptions of conflict, but some presenters are more equal than others in the Montrose animal farm.

    1. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

      Compliance – Risk management

      ( Not Governance in this case, unless Miriam is also a Director of RTÉ and or any of her interviewees are members of the RTÉ BoD)

      But back to the matter in hand
      The columist or the Paper editors etc absolutely should have declared a standing Conflict of Interest with this piece they published.

      The risk in this case is Bias influence and therefore denies Independence and Transparency
      Something the Paper themselves should have informed the readers of. Even by way of a footnote
      Dear reader, in the interest of transparency and Independent reporting, we hereby put you in notice that the writer Colin Murphy is a sibling of Minister Eoghan Murphy who is a work colleague of Ms Maria Bailey, and also a Fine Gael Party Member with Ms Bailey
      Or sum’ting like that

      Even if this risk isn’t scored highly or at all in their Risk Register
      It must definitely appear in some Standards policy in the paper

      1. Spud

        Very disappointed with the SBP on this.
        They are likely to lose a number of readers on this poor judgement.

      2. eoin

        True V, it’s compliance with producer guidelines in the first instance, but when the producer isn’t doing their job, it’s a governance issue.

        I like your suggested illustration of transparency for Colin Murphy.

        But, tell us this. There were 5-10 separate articles in last week’s issue about Swedish business issues. Do you think there should have been some transparency about the owner of the SBP, Kilcullen Kapital and their ambitions in Sweden? You might have missed this press statement from our Dept of Foreign Affairs last October when Kilcullen was waxing lyrical about Sweden.


        Colin Murphy wasn’t the only one not declaring a perceived conflict of interest on Sunday!

        1. Vanessa the Holy Face of Frilly Keane

          I’d need to see the nature of the columns
          And what the premise was and how balanced they were
          If they were blatantly bias then
          Clearly Influence was present
          Even if t’was just a bitta business news / results
          A note introducing the Owners interest in the featured companies should be a compulsory standard in any business and finance reporting, especially for PLC’s . Maybe it should be a mandatory condition ( by the relevent Exchange (s) for listing
          But then if analysts and ratings agencies did their jobs ……

          Re. RTÉ
          Sorry about this but it’s still not a Governance matter
          Producers are most definitely Operational Level
          So their behaviour is entirely the responsibility of Management/ Sen Management/ Executive level employees

          Now if members of the Board of Directors, (the Non- Execs principally) were directly accessing and instructing producers; then you are into very risky behaviour.
          Grant Thornton Forensic investigation stuff

          That’s INM level Governance failures.

          Absolutely and beyond doubt – Directors have no function at Operational levels. It is their role to ensure strategy, compliance, stewardship and prudence and they do that through the CEO

          IE Lesley Buckley putting pressure on INMs then CEO and Finance Director to pay 36m for whatever they’re called without the Board knowing
          And all the other stuff

          Imagine a Bank of Ireland NED rocking up unannounced to their count house?
          Or chatting and developing relationships with underwriting? Or with the Credit Committee??????
          Or hanging out with the tellers in the banking hall?

          Think of Governance as like a separation of duty requirement
          Let the day t’ day get in with it
          And report to Board accordingly

          Failure at the FAI is down to having a single Dominant Influence
          And the remaining Directors not interrogating monthly reports
          Or holding their CEO to Account

  5. Liam

    Has he actually read Ronson’s book? The people he was talking about were mostly nobodies who had committed fairly minor indescretions, and then became internet villains because of it. None of this applies to MB. Ronson’s been fairly clear that his book is not a get-out-of-jail card for bad behaviour by the rich and powerful.

    1. postmanpat

      Highly doubtful he actually read that book himself, it was probably recommended and described to him while drunk at a party between conversations about investment properties and tips to avoid troublesome tenants and maximize rent on said investment properties. I doubt he has time to read anything other than his own articles and smelling his own smugfarts.

  6. Liam Deliverance

    Colin Murphy would appear, from this article anyway, to have a strong sense of morals and empathy, maybe he could take over the Housing Minister job and Eoghan Murphy can take over the playwright role and progress his fictional writings skill set.

  7. Termagant

    Shaming is only a bad thing when the recipient doesn’t deserve the shame or if it persists after the recipient has made amends. Until Maria convincingly renounces her naked greed, bafflingly overinflated sense of entitlement and utterly absent sense of personal responsibility she will continue to receive the slings and arrows of public mockery and it will continue to be appropriate.

  8. Lilly

    Punished? She hasn’t been punished at all. She’s not cooling her heels in Mountjoy for attempted fraud. That would be punishment.

  9. Daisy Chainsaw

    A puff piece, rubber stamped if not written, by the FG Fraperoom. it should have had #ad #spon like “influencers” have to on their Instas

  10. Patrick

    You don’t get it, had journalists being doing their jobs properly over the years exposing real institutional graft and disfunction maybe the people wouldn’t be so angry. There’s no hidden hand driving the outrage that people feel, it’s not the fault of social media. And now all you “commentators” just appear as hacks called up to defend one of their better off cronies. You know what? Fupp you and her and her swing there’s 10,000 people homeless and many of them are sleeping in tents under the rain tonight.

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