Monthly Archives: June 2009

Peter Murtagh at the Irish Times needs to heed his own advice

Murtagh has a piece in today’s Irish Times in which he analyses the media reaction to Monica Leech’s libel victory against The Herald. He bemoans the failure of the losing side to take the point: that they had done wrong and really ought to apologise for it. Instead, he says, they are focusing on the amount of the award, unwilling to recognise that it is intended to send a signal to the media that people are angry at the casual way they target people with calculated indifference to the facts. Murtagh says:

“Many fellow citizens believe we in the media think we can say anything we like and get away with it. They think we target people unjustly, with little thought of the pain we inflict on them and their families. You know what? They are largely correct, but the brush is applied across all media, as though we are all the same.”

Well, quite so Peter. Now perhaps you would care to apply this perspective to your own treatment of the residents of Erris in County Mayo, several of whom you have targetted with some of the most vitriolic and ill-informed journalism ever seen in the pages of the Irish Times. The chief beneficiaries of your attacks are the gigantic oil and gas exploration company Royal Dutch Shell – a company with a violent and enviornmentally destructive track record – and the Fianna Fail party whose wretched mismanagement of the coutry’s energy resources is one of the major scandals of our time.

Further observations here about Peter Murtagh’s article (above) and of coverage of the Corrib Gas issue generally – as published in recent edition of Village magazine. 

Miriam Cotton

Stop Climate Chaos with a Motoring supplement

By David Manning

“However overwhelmed or helpless we feel, one painless step that we could take would be to take part in the Stop Climate Chaos protest at noon on Sandymount Strand on Saturday, June 13th.

The Metro newspaper [owned by the Irish Times] is printing special red and blue covers for the event. Participants will use the covers to create images, such as a giant egg-timer, to symbolise time running out. It will be a message to politicians that people want action now. (http://www.stopclimatechaos. ie/)

Every era has its blind spots and sometimes they result in tragic injustices like industrial schools. However, our blind spot in relation to climate change is truly enormous.

If even a fraction of the Doomsday scenarios predicted by climate scientists come true, our children will be asking us questions within in a far shorter time span about why we failed to take action on climate change.” [Breda O'Brien, the Irish Times]

Perhaps I’m being too cynical, but…

Dear Breda,

Do you think it would acceptable if participants at the Stop Climate Chaos protest used the cover of the IT travel section instead?

Best wishes,

David [6/6/09]

Williams’ Corrib Hatchet Job

Paul Williams’ recent TV3 ‘exposé’ on the Corrib gas project can now be found on YouTube. While advertised as a balanced investigation into the media narrative of a two sided battle, even the Irish Independent was sceptical:

“instead of providing an exposé he contented himself with innuendo and abuse, some of it so vehement that the viewer almost felt sympathy for the die-hard fanatics and professional agitators who’ve latched on to this bitter campaign.”

It’s in six parts, below is the first, the rest are equally bad:

Irish media failing over Rossport

The media are taking the side of Goliath in this David v Goliath issue, without verifying their facts. By Miriam Cotton

A version of this article appears in this month’s issue of Village Magazine (June 2009).

“I hate to criticise a multinational, because generally speaking I am a great fan of multinationals (they being the basis of our present prosperity) but I have to say that Shell has been scandalously remiss in not employing someone to bump off a few of these fellows.” [Kevin Myers, Irish Independent, Friday 3rd August 2007]

In April 2006, life-long native of Erris, Co Mayo, Willie Corduff was honoured to go to California to accept the coveted Goldman Environmental Prize – awarded to him for his efforts to protect his community from environmental and other threats it faces from the proposed Shell/ Statoil/ Marathon Consortium’s Corrib Gas project. The Goldman is awarded annually to just six people from around the world. Here was a big story, a source of national pride, with international significance and full of human and social interest. Yet there was only a relatively low-key murmur about it in the Irish national media.

Three years later almost to the day Corduff found himself attacked and viciously beaten by a number of men in balaclavas.

By the early hours of April 23rd, 2009, Corduff had spent much of the previous day trying to prevent the erection (with dubious permission) of fencing for a Shell compound above Glengad Beach in Broadhaven Bay, by sitting under a Shell works truck thus rendering it inoperative. The sandy beach cliff at Glengad is home to a much-loved population of sand martins but it is also the proposed landfall site for the 92km, globally unprecedented, pipeline of highly volatile raw gas – from seven well heads out in the Corrib field. Having hit the landfall at Glengad, Shell say the pressure will, if the project goes ahead, be reduced from the extremely high 345 bar pressure to 144 bar via a “reduction valve” and then travel a further 9 kilometres inland, criss-crossing the exquisitely beautiful Broadhaven Bay, to a proposed refinery at Ballinaboy.

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