The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Belfast's Big-headed Bully-boy

Margaret Quinn • July, 2003

So, "Belfast's, big-headed bully-boy," as Mairtin O'Muilleoir, publisher of the Andersonstown News (AN), has become known here [Belfast], demanded, and was granted, a right to reply to journalist Eamon Lynch's column, "Andersonstown News: Voice of Banana Republicanism?" published in the US newspaper, Irish Echo.

Fortunately, I had read Mr Lynch's excellently researched and articulated article before the "powers that be" - to their shame - removed it from the Echo archives. In the face of such cowardice and disloyalty, Mr Lynch bravely and honourably resigned.

And what had Lynch done to deserve this disgraceful treatment? As his column title suggests, he questioned (rightfully) the journalistic competence of an AN editor; as well as truthfully exposing and criticising AN's autocratic attempts to censor, demonise and marginalize anyone who airs views that differ from its own, Sinn Fein-led, agenda. Their latest tactic - threatening the use of BRITISH LAW against those who, in their opinion, give credence to "dissident" voices - are aimed, exclusively, at the highly-respected journalist and political analyst, Dr Anthony McIntyre who, with his wife, runs an online journal, The Blanket. Hence, AN's baseless libel threats against John Fay (Nuzhound) and Sean Finlay (Irish Echo owner) for, respectively, carrying two links to Dr McIntyre's articles; and allowing publication of Eamon Lynch's justified criticism of AN.

AN's stance today is in stark contrast to the one it held during the disgraceful, British Establishment imposed, censorship of all "dissidents," including Sinn Fein, during the1980s. Then "free speech" was AN's mantra. How times have changed! How easily principles, once held so fervently by AN, have been cast aside! And how shameful that AN now acts every bit as ignominiously as the Establishment it previously condemned!

As Mr O'Muilleoir put it, failing to note the irony in his unsuccessful attempt to be clever, "Hypocrisy, how are ye?"

Which brings me to his "reply" in the Echo. What a pity O'Muilleoir's piece was not judged by AN criterion - merit (which, incidentally, applies only to those having the "temerity" to be independent thinkers). Had it been, O'Muilleoir's piece should have been disbarred completely, given its distinct lack of merit! Indeed, it displayed to a whole new readership just how journalistically incompetent AN is, and the very reason it deserves, in fact needs, criticism.

An articulate, rebuttal of Lynch's column it was not. Lynch's accusations were neither addressed nor refuted. Instead, "Emperor" O'Muilleoir confined his "reply" to scurrilous lies and personal insults against Dr McIntyre; as well as using it as a platform for egotistic self-congratulations for his little Empire in West Belfast. Perhaps O'Muilleoir has yet to realise that lies and personal insults are well known last resorts of scoundrels with no argument, and that self-congratulations is certainly no recommendation!

What appeared to greatly irk O'Muilleoir was Dr McIntyre's spot-on critique of ANs so-called, "wide-ranging interview," with Freddie Scappaticci, with which I totally concurred. Indeed, I found the "interview" not only extremely shoddy journalism, but also an insult to the intelligence of AN's readership. Had there been no quotation marks, I would have taken it as a joke, a "send-up" of serious journalism - akin to send-up movies, such as Police Academy and Aeroplane. But the "interview" has been criticised by numerous people far more articulate than myself, so I'll leave it at that.

What really bothers me is the fact that Belfast bully boy tactics seem to have acquired the power to reach all the way to the land of free speech, America, and impose its censorship on previously liberal and reputable newspapers like the Echo. From where does this power spring? Certainly not libel laws, as a simple reading of the "offending" articles, freely available on the Blanket, demonstrates. And certainly not from AN publisher, Mairtin O'Muilleoir, a tinpot little dictator with ideas of personal grandeur, but no real power. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I, for one, see the hand of a much more sinister element, possibly even one posing as a respectable Political Party, breaking its neck - and principles - to get back into Stormont. Changed times, indeed!



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



"As a rule, dictatorships guarantee safe streets and terror of the doorbell. In democracy the streets may be unsafe after dark, but the most likely visitor in the early hours will be the milkman."
- Adam Michnik

Index: Current Articles

29 July 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Our Places in the Great Wall
Seaghán Ó Murchú


Mr Michael McKevitt's Statement at the Special Criminal Court
Michael McKevitt


Crisis of Political Imagination

Liam O Ruairc


Childhood, - West Belfast, Race and 'Irishness'
Davy Carlin


Island Palestine
Anthony McIntyre


A Short History of the Global Economy Since 1880
M. Shahid Alam


Belfast's Big-headed Bully-boy
Margaret Quinn


20 July 2003


Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
Anthony McIntyre


Sinn Fein Support for Prisoners' Demand
Mick Hall



Liam O Ruairc


Revenge of the Bureaucrats
Julie Brown


What It's Like to be Raided
Carrie Twomey


Raid on McIntyre Home



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