Irish media: Looking after their own


By Anthony Sheridan

It really is interesting to observe the stark difference displayed by Irish media when reporting on allegations of corruption in Ireland and abroad.

When analysing allegations of corruption outside of Ireland reporters always get straight to the point and do not mince their words in describing the hard facts of the case.

When reporting on allegations of corruption within Ireland it’s a different story altogether. The word ‘corruption’ is seldom used and there is always a long and painful introduction of excuses and cautions regarding the allegations.

A report by RTEs Business Editor David Murphy on the Panama Papers scandal provides us with a rare example of both approaches in one report.

His report on the Prime Minister of Iceland is damning and to the point.

Iceland’s banks went bust and a lot of people lost money. The Prime Minister had a conflict of interest with one of the banks and I think that’s why he’ll be in pretty deep trouble over this. Politicians were criminally charged and so were banks, it was very difficult for the Icelandic people.

I think he’s going to have to be very clear about exactly what happened. If he thinks that walking out of an interview is going to help his case…I imagine he’ll get a roasting in the parliament in Iceland today.

And then Murphy was asked about the Irish links in the scandal:

Well, it’s important to stress all this stuff…we’ve got fragments of information and as regards whether any of the individuals named have done anything wrong, we don’t know that yet so I guess we need to give the people who are named a chance to give their full responses.

media-meterBut in Ireland the former Fine Gael advisor Frank Flannery has been linked to a British Virgin island company and he has…so he’s considering giving a full response to this later on and he’s consulting with his lawyers about documents so we’ll see what he has to say in relation to that.

Why is this?

Is it because of the strict libel laws in Ireland or is it because the establishment media looks after its own, I suspect the latter.

Here’s an indisputable fact – If it was Gerry Adams’ name that appeared on the list the establishment media would have cancelled all news reporting for a week to focus exclusively on demanding explanations from Sinn Fein and its leader.

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David Murphy

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