Alt Amháin - Single Article


airgead  glas  oráiste  corcra  buí  liath

Please email your comments to:

All fair comments, criticisms and praise will be posted!

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

The North – How Ireland’s ‘left wing’ literati ended up supporting the far right.


The thought will perhaps sour their enjoyment of that little after dinner glass of Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise dessert wine they always enjoy when dining out with embassy staff and military attachés, but an unpleasant scenario is looming on the horizon for some of Ireland’s ‘literati’. For it is not just the IRA who is now being asked to give an account of actions taken during the ‘Troubles’. As the bedrock of the peace process slowly settles into place, journalists and the major media outlets are also being called upon to explain how they got reporting the war in our country so horribly wrong.

The Miami Showband - massacred in 1975

For example, interviews surrounding the recent book on the Miami Showband massacre in 1975 (where British and locally recruited security force members attempted to wipe out a famous show band and lay the blame with republicans) has revealed great depths of frustration at the lack of reportage relating to this and many other murders by pro British death squads. See and hear for example how one of the survivor’s of the massacre (Steven Travers who was very badly injured) talks about there being a “taboo” about discussing atrocities involving collusion on Joe Duffy’s liveline -

Put simply, there is a growing awareness that Irish journalism has failed the people. It failed to honour the “Hippocratic oath” to report and analyse the truth of events without fear or favour. The Miami massacre, the families of the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the McGurk’s Bar, the Reavey and O’Dowd killings, the slaughter of 11 civilians over a number of days in Ballymurphy and its aftermath - see
have all gone largely unreported for decades and surviving victims have long complained of having been marginalised and ignored.

I urge any reader who doubts the above to contact the relatives action groups, or to consult the excellent Pat Finucane website, which confirms the collective failure to report the war. That wall of silence, however, in which the serried ranks of Irish journalism played the role of assistant stonemason, is about to collapse.


Now the fact that Irish journalism, to use a layman’s term, ‘bottled it’ over the North is bad enough but what happened in tandem with that collective attack of cowardice is that Irish journalists then effectively gave their support to a right wing security agenda, which the then Apartheid estate of South Africa greatly admired. Thus we had the Orwellian scenario where our greatest reporters would write tower block tomes railing against Apartheid South Africa but at the same time they would turn a blind and jaundiced eye to a very obvious British security agenda, which encouraged and facilitated cooperation between Apartheid South Africa and loyalist death squads.

With all the above in mind, the broader political canvas reveals the astonishing fact that the allegedly liberal left in Ireland and its journalistic constituency (basically all of Irish journalism) effectively ended up taking the side of an extremely right wing clique within the British establishment. A Whitehall clique, that is, that ran security policy throughout the thirty years or more of the conflict in the North. This security policy included censorship (a broadcasting ban on Sinn Féin openly supported by leading journalists in RTÉ and print journalists), psychological operations and news manipulation, the open and long term demonization and vilification of Gerry Adams and the denigration of Northern Catholics as an “irrational tribe”, which was blamed as being the root cause of the conflict. In other words, the classic panoply of British colonial media machinations, which have been developed to a fine art over centuries so as to deter the urge for independence in countries making up the “Commonwealth”.

And here is the greatest paradox of all - Irish journalism is essentially made up of members or supporters of the Labour party and its fellow travellers in what was the Workers Party, Democratic Left and a small Fine Gael element. As evidence of this, in all my time as a journalist working in Ireland I can count the number of journalists working for a major broadcaster or newspaper who were supporters of either Fianna Fáil or Sinn Féin on one hand. Irish journalism is the liberal left. The liberal left is Irish journalism. Yet, Irish journalism effectively sided with right wing hawks in the British military intelligence axis by refusing to report, and even suppressing, the full facts about atrocities and acts of collusion between the so called security forces and pro British death squads.


Of course, the reason my why the Irish left and its journalistic wing chose to get into bed with the English far right rather than face the truth is quite simple. For, reporting the facts fairly and consistently would have meant having to admit that Sinn Féin and the IRA had a legitimate argument. Worse, having to admit terms like “occupied six counties” and “guerrilla army” into the journalist lexicon (phrases like this were self censored by journalists north and south) would have meant that you, as a journalist, might have to start thinking about yours own attitudes to British colonialsim. An appalling vista - that you as a well known commentator might have to raise questions about pro British death squads, or the most draconian legislation ever devised by man and being implemented in part of what was deemed as your country. So, rather than report the truth, the answer was to abandon real journalism and then perform circus clown somersaults in explaining why you had done so.Your final act in this Mephistophelean metamorphosis was when you donned extra thick bifocals, which not only made you look more intellectual but also meant that you could not see further than the prepared script that had been placed in front of you by those master puppeteers across the sea.

`Deir siad go bhfuil an fhírinne searbh, ach, creid mise, ní searbh atá sí ach garbh, agus sin an fáth a seachantar í.’
(Seosamh Mac Grianna - Mo Bhealach Féin)

‘It is said that the truth is a bitter thing but, believe me, it is not bitter but it is a harsh taskmaster and that is why it is avoided.’
(Seosamh Mac Grianna - Mo Bhealach Féin)

For more details on the Miami Showband book please go to -
No comments yet:


Comments must be approved before being published.

Meta Information:

Title: The North – How Ireland’s ‘left wing’ literati ended up supporting the far right.
Date posted: 17 Feb '08 - 12:48
Filed under: General
Next entry:  » Maidir le mo chara Cathal Ó Searcaigh
Previous entry:  « I ndíl chuimhne ar - in fond memory - The Busby Babes

Baile - Home