NUJ supports Irish journalists Philip Ryan and Niall O’Connor
2 November 2017
The National Union of Journalists has expressed grave concern about the attempt by the Standards in Public Office Commission to force Sunday Independent journalist, Philip Ryan, to produce confidential information before a hearing into alleged planning irregularities.
The commission sought the information under the Ethics Act and warned Philip Ryan that it would be an offence not to produce the material at a SIPO hearing which took place last week. He was also instructed to attend an investigation hearing into the planning claims which took place in SIPO’s office in Dublin last Monday. Lawyers representing the journalist opposed the move and he reserved his position.
The investigation relates to allegations of planning irregularities in Co. Mayo.
Séamus Dooley, Irish Secretary, said the NUJ fully supported Philip Ryan and the Sunday Independent and was strongly opposed to the concept of SIPO hearings being conducted in private. He also expressed concerns about threats issued against Independent Newspapers journalist, Niall O’Connor.
Following a request from Niall O’Connor for a comment on a story, the MEP Luke “Ming” Flanagan took a screenshot of the email request – which included the political reporter’s number – and tweeted it. Messages threatening O’Connor were subsequently sent to the reporter’s phone number.
Séamus Dooley said:
“This is a worrying trend. Luke Flanagan behaved in an irresponsible manner and the threats have stemmed from his actions.The request from Niall O’Connor was perfectly reasonable. Mr Flanagan could have ignored it or answered the question.”