Tag Archives: una mullally


Una Mulally, writing last month:

“Why are Irish journalists once again missing a movement? The media at large does appear strangely unable to interpret political movements when they are citizen-driven and formed outside the traditional party political structures.

“The example of how much coverage was given to Renua is an interesting incident of media gravitating towards, and giving credence to, a new political entity just because it was a political party, even though Renua was instantly irrelevant.

Contrast that with how slow the media was to treat with legitimacy the protest movements around water charges, homelessness, marriage equality, transgender issues, reproductive rights, third wave feminism, and so on. Yet it’s the latter that are actually effecting social change.

I have spoken many times about the Irish media’s tendency to be disconnected from the social change that happens from the ground up. I’m sure this point of view annoys many of my colleagues, especially considering journalists are meant to be the ones “in the know”.

“My personal (unpopular) analysis is that while journalists as individuals are made up of all political persuasions and points of view, there is an odd conservatism of thought that permeates the industry.

“…Of course, the maleness of this commentary cannot be ignored. The marriage equality campaign saw a largely heterosexual media comment and patronise an LGBT+ campaign. Now we are seeing a largely male political journalistic class comment on a female-driven campaign. Perhaps if there was greater diversity in the Irish media, we would be getting different analyses.”


Una Mullally: Why are Irish journalists again missing a movement? (April 16, 2018, The Irish Times)

Pic: Ruadhán Mac Cormaic


The Guardian trawled through 70 million comments and found that, of the newspaper’s 10 most abused writers – in the comments section – eight were women and two were black men.

The 10 writers who received the least abuse were all men.

Further to this, Una Mullally wrote about the matter in today’s Irish Times

Una writes:

The vitriol that women and minorities experience online is anecdotally obvious, but now we have the data. Perhaps finally, news organisations will wake up to how the scale and scales of abuse are tipped towards women and minorities.

The bigger picture also calls into question the value of comment sections at all. Whatever the motivations for the Guardian study, what it shows is something any journalist who is not male, straight, white, or all three already knew, but that was often undermined by their male, straight, white, peers.

Women get more flack because they are female. That doesn’t mean that male journalists never get abuse, but the motivation for that abuse is different.

Gendered abuse or criticism is not as obvious as “I hate this article because you’re a woman”. It is more insidious than that. Male journalists are often criticised for the opinions they hold, whereas women are often criticised just for holding opinions.

…Where is the value in making potential comment posters and readers angry and annoyed when they go below the line? The authors of articles are not the only victims of abuse, but also other comment posters who go up against the most domineering comment posters.

Comment sections as they currently exist have failed. Instead of fostering intelligent debate, they are taken over by ranters and ravers. Instead of adding value for the reader, they detract from the reading experience.

Instead of representing alternative points of view, they are specifically hateful of women and minorities. In an industry obsessed with what its readership wants, the tail has ended up wagging the dog.


Una Mullally: No Comment (Irish Times)

The dark side of Guardian comments (The Guardian)

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Directors of elections for Labour Alan Kelly, for Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes, Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher and Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carty, with RTÉ’s Sharon Ní Bheoláin this morning

Magdalene Hayden, assistant to Senator Katherine Zappone, writes:

The gender disparity in media is glaringly obvious, particularly when you examine the media coverage provided to female politicians on currents affairs programming in Ireland, according to Independent general election candidate for Dublin South West Katherine Zappone. For example, in recent weeks there were no female politicians participating in some of Ireland’s flagship political programmes.

During her recent feminism conference in Tallaght, attended by over 300 people, women from all walks of life shared their experiences and a common thread between them all was a sense of frustration at the imbalance of gender representation in Irish media.

Journalist, broadcaster, and activist Una Mullally made an impassioned call for media organisations to tackle the massive gender disparity endemic in our news and media organisations. She believes that a gender audit is the only realistic way to tackle the lack of representation of women in the media, while also examining the lack of women in positions of power in the industry itself.

Zappone echoes the sentiments of Mullally as someone who has been collaborating with and educating women, helping them achieve their potential for over 30 years. Having helped sow the seeds of many local women’s journeys into higher education via An Cosán, the Jobstown-based education centre, Zappone believes the time for an Independent voice with a passion for equality is now. Katherine champions equal opportunities for women in the workplace, education, health services and public life.


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Meanwhile, in yesterday’s Irish Times, Una Mullally wrote:

Dublin City Council flew a kite last week about reducing the size and the number of windows in new apartments. Nihilum didicimus [we have learned nothing]. The Construction Industry Federation has been calling for smaller apartment sizes for a while. More units per development equals more money.

The city has gone through several phases of apartment building, including builders who were so clever they didn’t even need architects. Now, as citizens are left wincing at so many terrible developments that got planning, the council is talking about rolling back on size standards for the sake of “kickstarting development”. Nihilum didicimus.


Flat 6, 190 Lower Rathmines Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6 (Daft.ie)

Una Mullally: A dark day for Dublin apartment dwellers (Irish Times)


Una Mullally

I’ve written a history book. It’s called In the Name of Love, and it launches tomorrow evening. It’s an oral history about a social movement, the movement for marriage equality in Ireland. In this book are over 70 interviews – ministers, journalists, activists, academics – pieced together to document the legislative and social change that has occurred in Ireland in relation to rights for gay people.

I’ve spent two years working on it and I’m very proud of it. Now comes the time to talk about it. In light of these two BAI rulings, that’s the tricky bit. I have been told by national radio stations that in order to discuss this history book, there must be someone present who opposes rights for gay people. These are not editorial decisions. They are instructions from above. The utterly normal issue of civil marriage is being treated hysterically, and stations can’t risk getting another black mark from the BAI.

BAI ruling on marriage equality comments stifles ongoing debate (Una Mullally, Irish Times)

Pic: Imeall


Via the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland:

The BAI has, at no time in its engagements with broadcasters, issued any direction requiring that broadcasters must automatically “balance” a discussion with an opposing view. Neither has the BAI, at any stage, made a “ruling on marriage equality”.
News and current affairs content on Irish broadcast media is required to comply with the Broadcasting Act 2009 and with the BAl’s Code of Fairness, Objectivity and Impartiality in News and Current Affairs. In setting out its guidance on the principle of fairness, the BAI has indicated to broadcasters that it will be necessary for them to consider the range of ways in which fairness is achieved, including through the selection of contributors, the time allocated to a news and current affairs issue, the scope of the debate, the structure of the programme or the role of the presenter.
Furthermore, the approach to covering issues, including those of public controversy or current public debate, should be guided by ensuring equitable, proportionate coverage. While there may be some instances where balance may be required, an automatic requirement for balance is considered unnecessary and inappropriate by the BAI. Indeed the BAI has consistently expressed the view that the application of such an artificial balance can, in and of itself, amount to a lack of fairness in certain circumstances.
Against this backdrop, it would be a matter of grave concern to the BAI if “national radio stations” or any other broadcasters, incorrectly used the outcomes of recent complaint decisions as a basis for their editorial decision-making.

BAI Comment in Respect of Issues Raised by Una Mullally (BAI)


(L-R) Vincent Browne, Tiernan Brady, Susan Philips, Ailbhe Smyth, Gerry Fahey
on last night’s Tonight with Vincent Browne




Gay-bashing, gay marriage, and how the media needs to get a grip (Una Mullally, Irish Times)