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Pól Ó Lorcáin
Paul Larkin

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place.
Charles Dickens - Barnaby Rudge, Chapter The Ninth

An Irish Times agus an fhírinne

(Translation below)

Deir an Irish Times sa leathanach litreacha an méid seo a leanas faoin bpolasaí foilsithe a bhfuil aige:
(i mBéarla ar ndóigh)
“It is our policy to represent as wide a range of views as possible within the constraints of libel and taste….”
Ta líon mór rudaí eile ann sa ráiteas fosta ach seo an rud is tábhachtaí, go bhfuil an páipéar is mo le rá sa tír seo (dar leis), The Paper of Record mar a dhearfá, ag deimhniú go bhfuil polasaí foscailte aige; sin a rá go bhfuil an páipéar sásta réimse leathan dearcaidh a fhoilsiú ar an leathanach litreacha. Níl ann ach fadhb amháin leis an ráiteas sin, áfach, agus sé sin gur bréag amach is amach atá ann.
Le gairid scríobh mé an litir chuig an Irish Times atá le feiceailt thíos agus seo an cúigiú litir chuig The Paper of Record le 18 mí anuas nach raibh an eagarthóir sásta a fhoilsiú. Mar go bhfeicfidh sibh ar ball beag, bhí an litir is déanaí ag plé an tuaiscirt agus léirmheas a scríobh an t-iriseoir Olivia O’Leary ar leabhar úr Kevin Myers. Scéal fada a dhéanamh gairid, d’úsáid O’Leary an deis chun ardmholadh a thabhairt ar lucht iriseoireachta na hÉireann agus an dóigh gur choinnigh siad a gcuid neamhchlaontachta agus an cogadh ag dul ar aghaidh. Seo bréag eile ar ndóigh agus silim féin go bhfuil muineál ag O’Leary an méid seo a rá nuair atá ceann de na scannail is mó sa tír seo an dóigh gur chlaon an cuid is mó de na hiriseoirí leis an bpolasaí cinsireachta agus frith phoblachtacha a chur an dá rialtas i bhfeidhm. Bhí iriseoirí na hÉireann ina “embedded journalists” sular tháinig an téarma fiú ar an tsaol. Nach bhfuil O’Leary ar eolas gur ceap magaidh lucht iriseoirí na hÉireann ar fud an domhan maidir le seo?
Téann sin díreach isteach i mo phointe deireanach sa bhlag seo. Bhí achan litir a dhiúltaigh an Irish Times thar ar dhá bhliain anuas ag plé an Tuaiscirt, an cogadh sa tír seo, chomhcheilg idir fórsaí rúnda na Bhreataine agus na dílseoirí, nó an ról a bhí ag iriseoirí na hÉireann na rudaí seo a chur i bhfolach. Leanann an chinsireacht ar aghaidh agus tá sé mar cheann de na dualgais is mó ar na Gaeil an slabhra nimhe seo a bhriseadh.

(Short resumé of above):

The Irish Times letters page states that its letters policy is:
“..to represent as wide a range of views as possible within the constraints of libel and taste….”
The paper, and its stellar journalists, likes to style itself as the Paper of Record and there is no doubt that it is the most influential paper in Ireland. There is only one problem with the above statement about openness, however, and that is that it is a lie. I wrote the letter below to the Irish Times in response to journalist Olivia O’Leary’s review of Kevin Myer’s latest book. O’Leary uses the opportunity to praise the role of Irish journalist in covering the so called Troubles. O’Leary specifically uses the phrase impartiality in her praise if Irish journalism in its coverage of the war.
It goes almost without saying that the Paper of Record declined to publish my criticism of O’Leary and this is the fifth time in the space of two years that they have refused to publish correspondence from me. All five “declined” letters dealt either with collusion between British secret forces and loyalists or the role of journalists in covering the war. Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I regard the behaviour of Irish journalists during the conflict as a scandal because of their failure to report fairly on what was happening. Is O’Leary not aware that Irish journalism in this period is regarded as a travesty of the word by specialists and ordinary people alike across the world?
My final point is that it is up to Gaels everywhere to highlight and indeed to break this circle of censorship.

Here is the letter to the Irish Times:

Madam

In her review of Kevin Myers’s recent book about his time as a journalist in Belfast (IT Weekend Review Nov 4th 06), Olivia O’Leary congratulates those many journalists who have reported on the North for being able to retain their “impartiality”. I presume here that Ms O’Leary is referring to the same “impartial” Irish journalists who failed so spectacularly to report the routine murder of Irish citizens by covert members of the British security forces and loyalists who had been recruited to their cause. These are also presumably the same “impartial” journalists who supported the censorship of nationalist and republican viewpoints in such draconian legislation as Section 31. For many many years, those same impartial journalists simply ignored the rising evidence of serial collusion between the civil power in the North and loyalism. So much so that it has been left to British journalists and senior police officers drafted in from the UK to tell the collusion story.
As further evidence of the above, Ms O’Leary tells us that the Miami Showband massacre in 1975 was “headline savagery” carried out by loyalists. Yet, almost to a man, the Miami Showband killers were serving members of the British Army. This fact, however, does not fit the cosy “Free State” journalist mantra which has the British keeping two warring “tribes” apart. Another fact is that, outside of the self congratulatory world of Dublin 4, southern Irish coverage of the Troubles is regarded as anything but impartial. It is not the role of a journalist to be impartial. Journalism must simply tell the truth and let the very heavens, or indeed the state, fall.

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Title: An Irish Times agus an fhírinne
Date posted: 23 Nov '06 - 20:58
Filed under: Mind Games
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