Tag Archives: Irish Independent

Yesterday’s Irish Independent

Kathy D’Arcy tweetz:

NO. When boys outperform girls it has generally been seen as just the normal way of things, and whenever girls outperform boys media use words like ‘fear.’

Leaving Cert 2019: Fears weaker boys may be left behind as girls top class (Irish Independent)

Gulp.

This morning.

‘Night Nurse’ writes:

Seriously?  This is their angle?

Thousands of patients put at risk as nurses go on strike (Independent.ie)

Earlier: Making Their Rounds

Cyclist passes a traffic light

Aaron Rogan, in The Times Ireland edition, reports:

An “expert” with the Road Safety Authority claimed that cyclists were a “law unto themselves” and had a “complete disregard for the rules of the road” in the first draft of a controversial newspaper article that prompted a backlash when it referred to the increasing number of bike users as “swarming masses”.

The reference was removed by the RSA before the article was submitted for publication along with a claim that cyclists had developed a “majority-rules mindset” and were “battling it out for first place in the cycle lane, or as some call it, the ‘psycho’ lane”.

The toning down of the article, published in the Irish Independent’s motoring section under the byline “RSA expert”, was revealed in documents released to The Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

RSA expert’s ‘anti-cyclist’ piece toned down (Aaron Rogan, The Times Ireland edition)

Rollingnews

independent House, home of the Irish Independent.

‘Bona fide’ journalists are accredited and employed by a recognised media outlet. The copy they file is then processed through a layer of sub-editors, editors and, crucially, lawyers who ensure that nothing in breach of any restrictions ever hits the page.

It’s a rigorous, frequently onerous process, which can be the bane of a court reporter’s existence – but that frequently frustrating experience is also a lot better than collapsing a trial.

‘Citizen journalists’ on the other hand may indeed be citizens, but they’re not journalists.

Simply typing some words on your phone and releasing them to your Twitter feed does not make you a journalist. It makes you, at best, a concerned citizen and, at worst, an amateur who can wreck an entire case.

Court reporting, by its own inherently sensitive nature, is an almost forensic procedure which involves more rules and potential pitfalls than other areas of journalism.

It’s a frequently perilous legal tightrope which takes a particular skill set and expertise to master fully.

The people who spend their day angrily fulminating on Twitter may think they’re fulfilling some role, but they’re a menace.

After all, these rules haven’t been designed to cosset some gilded inner circle, but to protect ordinary citizens from having their right to justice denied by some fool with a Twitter handle.

Ian O’Doherty, Irish Independent, November 20, three days before an article and editorial in the Irish Independent forced the collapse of a rape trial.

Good times.

‘New court-reporting restrictions protect the rights of citizens from some fool with a Twitter handle’ (Ian O’Doherty, irish Independent November 20)

Yesterday: During Deliberations

An 8 page supplement about  ‘Creative Youth’ published in the Irish Independent December 8th 2017

More importantly.

Who paid for it?

Steve White writes:

Josepha Madigan Minister for Arts says of the supplement:

No cost was incurred by my Department in the production of the supplement on creative youth in the newspaper on 8 December 2017…The content, design, layout and print costs were all a matter for that publication.”

The Irish Times published a 28 page supplement on Creative Ireland on 13 December 2017. The cost of that supplement was €34,744. This funding came out of the Creative Ireland Programme budget..

So incredible was the view that they Department of Culture didn’t pay for the Independent supplement, it’s the second time this question has been asked…

So…The Department of Education didn’t pay for it nor did the or the Department of Children nor the Arts Council. Not even the Deparment of the Toiaseach…

Anyone?

Times Ireland edition

This morning.

Further to several reports this week and last in the Times Ireland edition about the State paying for content about the Government’s National Development Plan Project Ireland 2040 in some newspapers including the Irish Independent and The Irish Times

And journalists being directed to make advertorial look like news…

Ellen Coyne reports today that some newspapers were told – by the media agency hired by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Strategic Communications Unit, Mediaforce Ireland – that “if they did a good job writing positive editorial copy about Ireland 2040, they would be paid to write similar content on Brexit”.

It follows Ms Coyne, reporting on Monday, that:

One local editor told The Times: “This is fake news. Newspapers are struggling and the government know that, so they’ve got us by the balls.”

In today’s report, Ms Coyne reported:

Correspondence between Mediaforce and newspaper editors said that part of its “deal” with the government was that copy would not include a label similar to advertorial and that the sponsored content should look like editorial.

Editors were advised that the reason Mediaforce had been able to secure the Ireland 2040 campaign was because it would ensure that copy would match the “tone” of the newspapers it was running in. Journalists were told to give government copy a local angle and if they did a good job, there would be “more to come” on Brexit.

The SCU claimed it did not direct newspapers to blur the lines between editorial and advertisements. Mediaforce has not responded to requests for comment. The articles were marked as “in partnership” with Ireland 2040 or as “special reports” but more accurate terms such as “commercial feature” or “advertorial” were not used.

Ireland 2040 newspapers told there would be ‘more to come’ (Ellen Coyne, The Times Ireland edition)

Meanwhile…

In a follow-up to yesterday’s story in the Irish Independent about The Times Ireland edition…

In today’s Irish Independent

Sigh.

Context

‘The media is duty bound to be fair’: TD’s message to British newspaper (Irish Independent)

The press must be a platform for informed debate on the Eighth (Irish Independent)

Yesterday: Paper Cuts

Today’s Times Ireland edition

This morning.

Following on from Ellen Coyne’s previous reports about how the State paid for content in newspapers, including the Irish Independent and Irish Times, here and here

In today’s The Times Ireland edition.

Ms Coyne reports:

A drive to cut hospital admissions during the winter flu crisis was among the publicly funded campaigns that local papers were instructed to present as a news story, The Times can reveal.

The HSE was given final approval over journalists’ copy during the initiative, run by Mediaforce, the same agency used by the government for Ireland 2040 and Creative Ireland campaigns.

To create advertorial content, local newspaper journalists were sent to interview staff at a number of HSE injury units. The interview was arranged by the media agency. It is understood that in at least one case, the journalists had been working in-house while others were freelancers.

Mediaforce told journalists that the advertisements should be laid out like a normal news page. Yesterday, The Times revealed that the same firm told editorial staff that advertorials had to look like normal news stories.

Correspondence seen by The Times shows that after journalists wrote the interview it was laid out on the page, often labelled as a “special feature,” and the HSE was allowed to request amendments.

HSE campaign to cut hospital admissions during winter flu crisis pushed as genuine news (Ellen Coyne, Times Ireland edition)

Meanwhile…

In the Irish Independent

A British newspaper has denied it is using Facebook data to influence the result of the upcoming abortion referendum.

And the newspaper with a London-based headquarters insisted it used the social media platform to promote its stories to all sides of the abortion debate.

The pro-life side of the abortion campaign has frequently accused ‘The Times, Ireland Edition’ of being biased in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment.

British newspaper in ‘bid to influence abortion vote’ denial (Irish Independent)

Meanwhile…

Last night…

Ah here.

Peter Murtagh?

Previously:  Propaganda Is Something You Pay For

In today’s Irish Independent.

Pictures from yesterday’s Independent News and Media-organised Brexit Breakfast at Trinity College Dublin…

Including INM Editor-in-Chief Stephen Rae and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (bottom right).

In today’s Irish Times.

Pictures from an Irish Times Live event at the newspaper’s office on Tara Street last night…

Including Fine Gael TDs Ciaran Cannon and Hildegarde Naughton (left) and Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan speaking with Irish Times journalist Hugh Linehan.

Oh.

Earlier: “The Taoiseach Has Said He Wanted To Get The Media To Run Fewer Negative Stories”

The Daily News

Yesterday’s Irish Independent; Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

On Monday.

The Irish Independent reported that Kevin O’Connell, the legal adviser to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement who shredded documents pertaining to trial of the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean Fitzpatrick – an action that contributed to its collapse – had sent emails to the Department of Jobs in 2011 complaining of a lack of resources and experience.

Journalist Niall O’Connor reported that these emails were only forwarded to the Government last month.

MrO’Connor also reported that “a report into the shortcomings of the case will confirm that Mr O’Connell has been moved out of the now under-fire corporate watchdog”.

Former Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O’Connor ordered this report shortly after the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean Fitzpatrick was acquitted.

Further to this…

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy raised the Irish Independent story and responses that she and fellow Social Democrat TD Roisin Shortall received from the Department of Jobs.

Catherine Murphy: “Taoiseach, yesterday’s Irish Independent raised significant questions regarding the ODCE [Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement] and their handling of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial which was the longest running criminal trial in the history of the State. The public reaction to the case was a feeling of being utterly left down. People read what happened in the courts, rightly or wrongly, and as another case of people with friends in high places and the sense of punishment only being for the little people.”

“In a week where the public debate rages regarding the operation of the courts and the judiciary, it must be said that cases such as the Fitzpatrick case have a significant impact on public confidence in a system as a whole.

I want to raise with you what appears to be significant conflict in the information provided to both myself and the Irish Independent by the Department recently, when compared to information provided to my colleague Deputy Roisin Shortall in November 2015.

“Yesterday the revelations in the Irish Independent seemed to suggest that the ODCE effectively misled the Department of Enterprise and therefore, Government too, regarding their ability, or lack of ability to effectively investigate the Fitzpatrick case and provide the DPP with the evidence required to prosecute.

“On the 31st of May this year, I received a reply from the then Minister for Jobs [Richard Bruton]. That reply assured me that, in 2011, the Secretary General of two departments, in Justice and Enterprise, had met the ODCE officials and offered extra resources if needed for investigation.

The reply went on to say that the ODCE had claimed that they had no need for any extra resources. The reply clearly says that it was emphasised at the meeting that any requests for resources would be responded to positively. The reply confirms that the ODCE stressed they were satisfied with the resources that were available to them.

“Yet, in the reply to my colleague Deputy Shortall, in November 2015, it was claimed that the ODCE had flagged the need for further resources within their office, subsequent replies relating to that question indicate that there was a significant delay in meeting those resource requests – that’s obviously a significant issue in its own right.

The Irish Independent claims that the email sent internally from Mr O’Connell, in 2011, about concerns regarding the lack of resources within the ODCE to pursue the Fitzpatrick investigation were only forwarded to the Department of Jobs within the last few weeks and we need to know if that’s true. We know that Mr O’Connell had, during the course of the investigation, shredded key documents and had also engaged in coaching witnesses and that ultimately, and that and other issues, ultimately led to the controversial collapse of the case.

“The questions I want to ask are: Can you explain the conflict between the Department of Jobs’ reply in May of this year to me and the same Department’s reply to my colleague Deputy Shortall in November of 2015.

Does the Taoiseach worry that the ODCE may have concealed vital information from the outset, regarding their ability to pursue the Fitzpatrick investigation and does the Taoiseach believe the Government was misled by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement?

Leo Varadkar: “Thank you, deputy, I haven’t seen the report, it hasn’t gone to Cabinet. It hasn’t been published yet. I understand that parts of it may have appeared in a newspaper but I don’t know to what extent they are in truth or they are the full truth. And the report now has gone to the Attorney General and the Attorney General has to consider whether it needs to be redacted because, of course, individuals appear in the report and then may need to have their good name protected.”

“But once the Attorney General has dealt with the report, we will then publish an [inaudible] permission to do so and we’ll publish it with the response. At that point, I think it will be possible for the Tanaiste to answer your questions in more detail.

“What I can say is that the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement, the ODCE, has got additional resources the last year and, indeed, the office has got several additional staff and I think too often in this country, a lack of resources is used as an excuse for poor performance which is why so often additional resources don’t make any difference in terms of outcomes and performance.

“And what I’ve read in the papers is that, you know, documents were shredded that shouldn’t have been shredded and witnesses were coached that shouldn’t have been coached. I don’t know how a lack of resources causes someone to shred a document they shouldn’t have or to find the time to coach a witness they shouldn’t have coached so I think we need more and more as Government opposition not to allow people to hide behind the excuse of resources, it isn’t always the reason as to why everything goes wrong. Often, it’s not the reason at all.

“As a Government and as a Taoiseach, I’ve expressed my view very clearly that I don’t think that our capacity to respond white collar crime and corporate fraud is adequate and for that reason I’ve asked Minister Fitzgerald and Minister Flanagan to work together with their departments to develop a package of measures to go to Cabinet by the end of September which will enable us to strengthen and deepen our response to white collar crime, to corporate fraud and I think that’s necessary, I think people demand it and I think if we’ve any chance in restoring confidence in the State’s ability to deal with such issues, we need to do exactly that.”

Murphy: “Taoiseach, I know the report is gone to, I mean, is gone to the AG. It wasn’t the question I asked. I asked the question in relation to a conflict between two questions, the same, broad question that was proposed to the same department where we got two different replies, two different responses.

“In 2013, the department were made aware that the documents were shredded, 2013. And that was just before the trial commenced. And I’m sure that same information would have gone to the DPP and would we have had the longest running criminal trial in the history of the State if they had that information?

I asked you very specific information. The question, when it was posed in 2013, we were told that, the reply that I got was, if resources were requested they would be provided. Well now compare that to the reply that Deputy Shortall got, when she posed the question in 2013, and had to follow it up with other questions in relation to how many staff were there, when it was going to be augmented? It took a very long time, in fact I think it took before last year before they had their whole complement of staff, so that’s two years. Now, I asked you very specific questions in relation to how you can resolve that conflict. That’s an issue in its own right irrespective of a report going to the AG where you have a department that tells you two different things, both of them can’t be right because they’re the opposite end of the spectrum. Could you please address that issue and do you have confidence or do you believe that you were misled by the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement?

Varadkar:I don’t have an answer to that question. I haven’t any dealings yet with the Officer of Director of Corporate Enforcement. So, I can’t say they misled me because certainly I’ve had no dealings with them as Taoiseach, over the past [inaudible] days and I didn’t have in my previous weeks either so I don’t believe they misled me but if you’ve a question, ask them to the line minister, I imagine he’ll do that in the normal way…”