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McDonald challenges Taoiseach on media comments

4 July, 2018 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

At Leaders’ Questions this afternoon, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD challenged an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on remarks he made in New York regarding the Irish media.

The Sinn Féin Leader said that Mr Varadkar would have raised the issue of concentration of ownership if he was genuinely concerned about the condition of the media in Ireland.

Teachta McDonald said;

“As Taoiseach, you should understand that the freedom of the press to report in the public interest without coercion, pressure and without undue influence is vitally important. You have attacked Irish investigative journalism.

“If you were really concerned about the Irish media, you would have cited the issue of media ownership. You would be particularly concerned about the power of Denis O’Brien in Ireland’s media landscape.

“Such dominance has a chilling effect on news gathering and reporting in the public interest - on the ability of journalists to get the truth. However, you are not interested in those legitimate issues.”

Teachta McDonald pressed the Taoiseach to give more details regarding the lunch in New York at which he made the comments, saying:

“The Taoiseach’s account of event directly contradicts the accounts of those who were at the event are reported to have said.

“Who was at this lunch? Is there record of the meeting? Did you make any commentary on other sections of Irish society?” 

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