The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Caught At It Again
Andersonstown News caught fiddling with priests

The truth is not always the same as the majority decision.
- Pope Jean Paul

Anthony McIntyre • 4 September 2003

In today's Andersonstown News letters page the paper was taken to task by the Redemptorists at Clonard Monastery. The accusation leveled by the Redemptorists amounted to concluding that the paper was back at its old tricks - making it up. The letter from the monastery pulled few punches. The newspaper's reportage of events at the monastery was described as 'disrespectful and unjust ... reprehensible and grossly irresponsible.' The Redemptorists were 'appalled ... there wasn't a shred of truth in what your paper stated as certain fact, namely that ''a dissident (member of the Real IRA) stayed for two days in the halls of Clonard Monastery'' ... justice demands that there be substantial compensation for harm we have suffered at the hands of the Andersonstown News.' The letter also said that the paper had enhanced the potential for attack on the premises by a maverick paramilitary group. The inhabitants of Clonard Monastery would not be the first to claim compensation from the Andersonstown News arising out of allegations in the paper that arguably exposed the claimants to violent attack.

Writers for The Blanket have been arguing for some time now that the Andersonstown News is not a newspaper worthy of the name. It does not report the news but either makes it up or tailors it to suit the political agenda of its backers Sinn Fein and the burgeoning West Belfast business class. In one edition of the paper loyalists putting nationalists out of their homes was described as a pogrom; in another, nationalists putting nationalists out of their homes with Sinn Fein endorsement was community action. It is tempting to think that Andrew Marr had been reading the Andersonstown News when he observed that 'journalists make a lot of stuff up … wild hunches, tripe really, is packaged as fact, trimmed with self-importance and flung into the insatiable mouth of the news beast.'

A certain irony is not lost on those of us who have problems with the Andersonstown News penchant for distortion and falsification. After unsuccessfully trying to hound The Blanket out of circulation for basically making the accusation that the Andersonstown News is a Sinn Fein propaganda organ masquerading as a legitimate news outlet which inflicts a regime of deceit on the community it ostensibly provides for, the paper's publisher Mairtin O Muilleoir laughably told the publisher of of the Irish Echo, Sean Finlay that the West Belfast rubbish rag engaged in first class journalism. Equally laughable, Finlay ensured that at the end of O Muilleoir's fanciful nonsense, the following tripe would run: 'The Irish Echo accepts that the Andersonstown News is an independent and professional newspaper which is committed to the highest standards of journalistic practice.' Will Finlay set the matter straight by finding the courage to report to his readership the views of the Redemptorist Order or shall he describe them - as he does other critics of the Andersonstown News in West Belfast - as discredited? The safe money will be on the coward's option being pursued.

On this occasion the Andersonstown News had to allow the victims of its mendacity the right to reply. It was much too risky to resort to the old tactic of banning people and censorship. Clonard Monastery is much too powerful an institution for the newspaper group to walk over. The monastery is not a working class home to which the paper can urge mobs to gather for purposes of intimidation. But for those within this community who are powerless and have no recourse, the paper can make a misery of their lives.

Mairtin O Muilleor recently claimed that if any of his staff endangered the lives of another editor through what they had written in his papers he would sack them on the spot. Let us now see if the policy is extended to Redemptorist priests. There is no reason why it should not be. A redemptorist life is as important as an editor's. And the safe money here? - on O Muilleoir keeping faith with the standard of his paper, blowing hot air.
















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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
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Index: Current Articles

4 September 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


US Denies It Gave Safe Harbor to Brian Nelson
Fr Sean Mc Manus


Between Theory and Reality
Eamon Sweeney


In the Name of Security
Jim J Kane


Caught at it Again
Anthony McIntyre


The History of the Troubles According to the Provos
John Nixon


Moving Forward Past the Past
Davy Carlin


More Questions than Answers
Mick Hall


In Memory of Robert Emmet

Charles Murnick


Attempted Suicide by Iranian Asylum Seeker
Debbie Grue


Dublin: Maghberry Briefing Meeting
Mags Glennon


Belfast Anti-War Movement
Public Meeting


1 September 2003


Latest Police Attacks on Press Freedoms
Mike Browne


We Haven't Gone Away, You Know
The Blanket Back Online


The War Crime of Secret Graves
Anthony McIntyre


Horses for Courses
Eamon Sweeney


Rwanda: Crushing Dissent
Liam O Ruairc


Terrorists, Their Friends and the Bogota 3
Toni Solo


Aznar: Spain's Super Lackey
Agustín Velloso


Orwell Centenary Talk

John O'Farrell


The Letters page has been updated.




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