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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Bye-bye Daily Lies

Geraldine Adams • 10 September 2006

It's not often the closure of a newspaper is a victory for the freedom of the press but that's exactly what the end of Daily Ireland represents. Truth and honesty were never to be found in its pages during its publishing lifetime and, even on its death-bed, it kept on doing what it does best — lies, spin, and more lies.

The big bad Brits were blamed for refusing to provide a start-up grant and advertising. That's a bit like the IRA saying: "We lost the war because the British wouldn't buy us weapons or train and pay our volunteers, the bastards!"

What sort of self-respecting, radical outlet would be running to the Brits for money anyway? Wouldn't it want to stand on its own two feet? Wouldn't its independence be paramount? We've recently heard a lot from Sinn Fein about how it's following in the footsteps of Che Guevara. Now, imagine Che filling in the forms for the authorities to fund a revolutionary newspaper?

Only a tame, mainstream media organisation would be interested in government funding in the first place. And that's exactly what Daily Ireland was. How did it change the mainstream media agenda? What revolutionary campaigns did it fight? What stories did it ever break that rocked the establishment North or South? "Why playing Gaelic with the PSNI/RUC on the Malone Road is so-oh radical by Joe Brolly"? "Man eats mouse", was the final cutting-edge front page offering. Now, if Daily Ireland had survived another day, would the mouse eater have been unmasked as a Republican Sinn Fein or an SDLP member?

Daily Ireland portrayed itself as some powerless, victimised body. O'Muilleoir is a multi-millionaire and it was Daily Ireland practising McCarthyism, not suffering it. Time after time, the Provos' opponents — both of the constitutional nationalist and republican variety — were set up in stories. Never once did a Daily Ireland article challenge the Provo agenda. Even pre-1994 when the Irish News was truly a censorious SDLP rag, the odd story which presented the party in an unfavourable light would make it into print. But then the Provos have proved to be far better censors than their old enemies.

The columnists, to a man and woman, were 100% on-message too. Some were, membership-wise, outside the Sinn Fein stable. But they all were in absolute harmony with that party's agenda. There was not one dissenting voice, not one who wrote that just perhaps Gerry wasn't God. Shame on them!

The journalists who were hired were all B-team players with not one name of quality or substance among them. But that suited management. Anyone who has ever worked with O'Muilleoir knows he's a control freak and that his level of editorial intervention in run-of-the-mill stories is colossal. Independent-mindedness or strength of character wasn't a requirement. He wanted malleable journalists.

And, in the end, they weren't treated very well. One would expect that when a business, which prides itself on its left-wing, principled credentials, is closing, the process would be handled with sensitivity and adequate consultation and notice. Not a bit of it. Staff were given no warning. The announcement of job losses was brutal. The Sun, the Star, the News of the World or any right-wing rag couldn't have done it better. While staff might be heading for the dole queue, O'Muilleoir will still be driving his new top-of-the-range Audi. Christy Moore could sing 'Ordinary Man' in Teach Basil any day.

Daily Ireland didn't close because of a British plot. It would have received state advertisements had it secured the readership. It failed because nobody bought it and its management don't have the integrity to admit that. It was dull, tedious, unimaginative, and woefully laid-out. It didn't sell anything near 10,000 copies. It's not just the unionists and the Brits who can massage figures. Talk to the newsagents in West Belfast, look at the real circulation figures, and you'll see Daily Ireland's true sales were 2,000-3,000.

The Anderstonstown News' Group have shown their limitations. They can produce (with the help of substantial British government funding) a local bi-weekly paper full of advertisements, pictures of Granny Gormley's 80th and Eimear's 18th, and local tittle-tattle. But that's the height of it. It was their own delusions that they were more talented, more innovative, better writers, and had sharper business minds, that led them into the folly of Daily Ireland. They over-reached themselves.

Danny Morrison would love to be sitting on BBC Newsnight's couch on a Friday night discussing the arts with the literati but he's not up to it. He's written a few poorly selling-novels and a barely noticed play but he's going nowhere fast. He's not even Martin Lynch.

The Provos have long yearned for literary and journalistic success but it constantly evades them. The nearest them came to it was Frank Connolly but then he sort of blew it when he was filmed at Bogota airport with a false passport.

Anne Cadwallader has been a stalwart - remember how she shook Freddie Scap's hand at that sham 'press conference' when Provo propagandists needed to portray him as innocent and uncontaminated? But Anne hasn't managed to grace the pages of a quality national newspaper for almost 20 years now.

There hasn't been much for those who remain republicans to smile about in recent years. But Daily Ireland's closure offers a glimmer of light. It shows the Provos aren't infallible. Their finger isn't always on the pulse. They can read situations totally wrong.

They have thrived politically because they've had huge help from the British — through Blair and the intelligent services — and because the SDLP was so incompetent. Anti-Agreement republicans, with their disorganisation and bickering, have also greatly contributed to Provisional success. But Daily Ireland's failure shows the first chink in the armour.

In what turned out to be his last Daily Ireland column, Danny Morrison ridicules 'dissident' republicans. "I understand why dissident republicans bristle at being called 'dissidents'", he writes. "After all, it inescapably defines and anchors them as being dissident relative to a much larger successful republican organisation with which they disagree."

There is nothing dissident about 'dissident' republicans. All they do is remain true to traditional republican principles. But neither is there anything shameful in the term 'dissident' if it means that you are not a propaganda-parroting, spineless apparatchik, that you have spirit and back-bone and are capable of independent thought.

Danny Morrison makes much unjustified and some justified criticism of 'dissident' republicans. He derides them for not being able to "sustain a propaganda newspaper or magazine". Very true, Danny. Now, welcome to the club. And at least dissidents had the self-respect not to go running to the British government with a begging bowl.















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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

10 September 2006

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It's Good to Talk
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Bye-Bye Daily Lies
Geraldine Adams

Peelers Give You Trouble
Martin Galvin

If You Cannot Organise a Meeting, How Can You Expect to Organise a Revolution?
Liam O Comain

RSF not involved in proposed 'Front'
Republican Sinn Fein Press Release

Renaissance Republicanism
Mick Hall

Goulding, the Provisionals and the Current Political Process
Roy Johnston

Puppet Show
John Kennedy

Fr. Mc Manus on His Visit to Garnerville PSNI Training Center
Fr Sean Mc Manus

Irlande du Nord: Interview With Anthony McIntyre
André Poulin

Sectarian Interfaces: Glenn Patterson's That Which Was
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 9
Michael Gillespie

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 10
Michael Gillespie

A Curious Snub
Fred A. Wilcox

Con Artist
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Against Civilisation
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Blanket Coverage for All
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5 Years
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Sinn Fein: Or the Party of Symbolic Republicanism
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False Memory Syndrome
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Not the Cathal Goulding I Knew
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Dark Days Ahead
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Return to Conflict No Alternative
David Adams

Sir Reg's Party Games
Anthony McIntyre

A Secret History of Irish Music
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Unionism's Favourite Nationalist
Dr John Coulter

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 7
Michael Gillespie

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 8
Michael Gillespie

Trotsky and the Ghetto of the Sects
Mick Hall

Global Conscience Not US Capital: The Case for Liberal Intervention
Gabriel Glickman

Letter to Bertie
Michael McKevitt Justice Campaign



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